Police jobs axed

MARYANNE TWENTYMAN
Last updated 10:42 26/09/2012

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Crime rates are dropping but so are civilian jobs within the policing community in the Thames Coromandel region.

Thames Coromandel district councillors have been told  how a  recent  review of police services known as One Waikato will affect local services.

While frontline staff numbers would not be affected, Thames Senior Sergeant Graham Shields said three full-time civilian positions would be reduced to part-time as services moved to a centralised model.

''A new initiative in the way we interact with the public is the Crime Reporting Line (CRL), this will be a 24/7 service covering all of New Zealand.  Basically a call centre for reporting offences that have already occurred,'' he said.

''Right now our local rural stations can't offer that 24 hour service so from a community service perspective this is a big improvement for the Thames Coromandel area.''

With the CRL based in Auckland, Mr Shields said every district in the country would  contribute positions, currently the work of watch house officers, to be redistributed to the centre.

At the moment there are four full-time watch house officers in the Thames Coromandel Sub Area with two based in Thames and one each at Whangamata and Whitianga.

''To find that 1.5 contribution we have decided to take .5 from each of the three locations, so Thames drops to 1.5, Whitianga and Whangamata drop to .5,'' Mr Shields said.

''On a personal note the reduction in numbers effects people's livelihoods.  This is an unpleasant time and we are doing what we can to support those staff.''

On a brighter note Mr Shields reported that crimes rates in the region had dropped significantly over the past six months.

He said in the period leading up to January this year crime in the TCDC area was going up, but in the six months since February 2012 there had been significant reductions in reported crime. 

''In most of those months we achieved a reduction of 13 per cent or more compared to 2008 which is a milestone prevention target,'' he said.

''In real terms this has meant a reduction of as much as 20% for some months compared to 2011.  When half of our crime is dishonesty that equates to a lot less people being victimised.''

Mr Shields said while summer months traditionally saw a dramatic increase in reported crime, he believed that focusing on basic things like alcohol related harm and personal responsibility would ensure a safe summer for the Thames Coromandel area.

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