Police staff 'better used'

STEVE EDWARDS
Last updated 05:00 16/05/2014

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Senior police staff have fronted the Matamata-Piako District Council to allay fears over staffing.

The move was in response to a recent Waikato Times story, which suggested officer numbers had been cut in the district.

Inspector Dana McDonald, Waikato eastern area commander, said Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha have 24/7 coverage through either manned stations or on-call personnel.

In December 2011 the police initiated a "prevention first" operating strategy, with aspects including response, investigation and enforcement.

McDonald said the district command centre in Hamilton can help outlying stations.

"Resources are allocated better," he said. "We can work smarter."

Piako staff can also be backed up by officers from Cambridge and Paeroa stations, plus highway patrol personnel.

There had been "some hiccups" in the on-call system, but he said this had been reviewed, including staff rostering.

Senior Sergeant Rex Knight, of Waihi, who also spoke at a recent council meeting, said police resourcing is constrained by funding while it is also not easy to attract people to rural areas.

The past two years have seen the "biggest change police has ever seen", with the national strategy focusing on families, youth, alcohol, road policing, organised crime and drugs.

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- Waikato Times

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