Wairarapa Police Area Commander Scott Miller, left, Community Sergeant Ian Osland and Detective Sergeant Matt Wasson. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

Whole of region policing

EMMA BROWN
emma.brown@age.co.nz

A staff restructure and increase in personnel is set to bring 24/7 policing to the whole of Wairarapa for the first time.

The change would happen in the week starting September 2, Wairarapa Police Area Commander Scott Miller said.

Seven new constables have started work in the region and another three would be coming at the beginning of November. More would follow.

The swing shift, which had officers working in South Wairarapa towns until 1am, and then Masterton staff covering the region would be changed.

When he arrived in Wairarapa last year, Miller took a look at what staff were doing and the structure, as all new area commanders did.

“It was one of the first things I identified [in South Wairarapa] – that we needed a night shift,” he said.

“Carterton and South Wairarapa’s three towns have never had full 24/7 policing – and that’s a requirement as far as I’m concerned.

“We’ve had support from the Hutt throughout this whole year in relation to staffing and attending jobs in South Wairarapa.”

Miller said new and extended teams would be introduced from September 2.

“Twenty-four hours a day, if anything happens in South Wairarapa, that closest car will immediately be sent to the job.”

Petitioners in Greytown and Martinborough had demanded a sole charge constable in each of the towns, but Miller said that was not possible.

“We’ve got to be very aware of the health of the police officers, and that is why we have gone away from having a police house.

“You just can’t these days have someone knocking on your door at 3am or 5am.

“If the community constable is not working, you’ve got to find them, get them out of bed, get them dressed, get them to a police station to get their firearms, and then go to the job.

“This is far better for police because there’s far better coverage of our local community.”

In the case of Greytown, most of the offending was by people who did not live there. It was a similar situation in Martinborough.

“I’ve not divided Wairarapa into Masterton, Carterton, and South Wairarapa, like the councils.

“Those 24/7 cars will police the whole Wairarapa, and they will be where the demand is at the time.

“We won’t just put a car out and they’ll sit there for six hours with nothing going on. The vehicles will be spread across the whole Wairarapa.”

Miller said the region had probably been resourced at the same level for 10 years, but the government’s move to recruit 1800 more staff had allowed police to move back into community policing.

“We’re going up in resourcing and will continue to do so.”