Petition on hours for community constable confused: Police
A petition calling for the Te Awamutu community constable position to be restored to fulltime is being promoted by the Chamber of Commerce.
But Police say the petition is based on misinformation and misunderstanding.
The Chamber says a recent decision to downsize the position has seen an escalation in petty crime in the central business area, particularly shoplifting.
The petition, which is on the counter of the majority of shops in the CBD, calls on the area commander for Western Waikato Police District to reinstate the fulltime position.
Senior sergeant Dave Simes of the Te Awamutu Police says it is disappointing that some of the businesses within the Te Awamutu CBD have felt it necessary to conduct a petition in relation to the hours that the Te Awamutu community constable delivers.
“There appears to be misinformation about this and it is a pity that the petition organisers have not taken the next step to discuss this directly with the Police,” Mr Simes says. “It is simply not factually correct that the community constables position has been downsized to three weeks out of five, which is what has been suggested. Within policing there is always the pressure of staff resourcing, however it is how this valuable resource is deployed to be most effective, which is important.”
Mr Simes says it is this flexibility and ability to adapt which has brought significant crime reductions to the Te Awamutu area over the last two years.
“Police will always have a responsibility to first tier emergency response, and the community constable has been required to fulfil some of these duties where required. This is seen as a shortterm situation, however it does occur from time to time. The community constable has also been on leave, which also accounts for his lack of presence in the CBD area.”
Mr Simes says there are plans in place for extra foot patrols to be completed by all police uniform branch staff during the month of December in the lead-up to Christmas, and community constable Richard Hurrell will certainly be part of this approach.
Inspector Graham Matthews, the Western Waikato Policing area commander, says that how individual stations deploy staff is generally left to the supervisors in charge of those stations, especially where good results are being obtained.
“This is certainly the case in Te Awamutu where the Te Awamutu Police have been significant contributors to excellent crime reduction results which have been obtained in recent years in the wider Western Waikato policing area,” Mr Matthews says.
“Reported shoplifting offences in the Te Awamutu CBD area in 2004 are currently reported at 63, which is significantly less than the 80 reported to the end of November 2003.”