Changes won't cause chaos
Waikato's top cop is reassuring the public the centralisation of crime reporting services will not cause chaos.
Several Hamilton residents have become concerned after being told they can no longer report low-priority crime to their neighbourhood stations.
Last month Waikato police said its One Waikato review would result in the loss of up to seven administrative jobs at its police stations.
The review means the public will have to ring the crime reporting line, an 0800 number based in Auckland, to report any non-urgent crime.
But 111 is still to be called for emergency calls.
Since the announcement, several residents have become worried that their local police station is closing or the reshuffle will create longer queues at Hamilton Central Police Station.
"The bottom line is, no police stations are closing," Waikato area commander Superintendent Win van der Velde told the Times.
But Vanessa Sharratt, of Hamilton-based immigration advisers Greenstone Global, fears the queues will prove diabolical at Hamilton central.
She currently uses Flagstaff police station most days to get paperwork signed.
"Already when I go [to central] I'm standing for a long time whereas when you go to your satellite station you can do all that stuff [quickly] . . . there's not enough staff [at central]. If they're going to do it, I want to know how they're going to increase central's ability to deal with it."
Mr van der Velde said that would happen by the front-counter staff's workload dropping by 45 per cent, once changes were in full swing, due to calls being diverted to the crime reporting line.
When members of the public call the crime line, which is being used by Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Eastern police districts, their complaint will be captured electronically where it will be assessed as to what action local police will take.
Each complainant will receive a complaint acknowledgement form and a file number for their future reference.
"Policing is changing; we want to move away from just responding to crime and investigating crime to being on the front foot."
As for when people will start to notice changes, Mr van der Velde confirmed they would slowly begin in September but would not be fully in effect until February next year.
But he said there would be a re-evaluation to iron out any issues after the overhaul had been in effect.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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