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More cops set for the mobile beat

Police Minister Chris Hipkins visiting the Mobile Police Unit in Greytown. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

More officers will be hitting the beat in South Wairarapa as a mobile policing unit for the district is launched.

The Government has funded a more than 10 per cent increase to the Wellington and Wairarapa region since 2017. As of September 30, there were 853 police working across the region, up from 772 in 2017.

However, an exact figure for Wairarapa could not be given because police worked across the entire district and could change location on a day-to-day basis.

Police Minister Chris Hipkins said the introduction of the mobile policing unit to South Wairarapa would make a difference to police visibility.

“More police will certainly increase public safety so it will help to ensure that when a crime is committed police are able to investigate it and are able to follow up on it and that will help with response times and crime resolution rates.

“And we’re seeing a higher level of reporting of some crimes, which means that we need extra police to respond to that.

“Think about domestic and family violence – if we rewound back 20 or 30 years a lot of that was just swept under the carpet, now it’s been reported to police.

“Overall that’s a good thing because it means that society has a lower tolerance rate for that but it does put extra pressure on police so extra police on the beat means there are more people to follow that up.”

South Wairarapa Mayor Martin Connelly said the addition of the unit would be a very welcome move.

“Two years ago both the Martinborough Community Board and people in Featherston petitioned to reopen stations, and there was a limited amount of success until October last year when those constables were pulled out.

“So this happening here will be very appreciated by a large number of people.”

However, Connelly said he understood some people would want a physical police building.

“We have to be realistic and we have to appreciate that the needs of our district go in the pan with the rest of New Zealand.

“But this is more flexible than what we had before. It’s quite high-tech and I hope it can be seen as an example of how effectively it can work.”

Hipkins said that Wairarapa was reporting some of the same trends in crime that were been seen around New Zealand.

“We’re certainly seeing some increased anxiety around youth offending. Police are really pursuing and disrupting gang-related activity and that’s in relation to drugs, violence and gun crime and I think that will have an impact here in Wairarapa.

“Road safety is obviously an issue here – the Remutaka Hill is a bit of a headache from a policing perspective because it is such a dangerous road.

“Domestic and family violence is an area of focus everywhere across the country and we’re seeing more of it reported.

“It’s good that more of it is being reported but it does mean that police then have an extra job to do and make sure that they are following up on all of those things.”

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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