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Police back by demand

An open day was held on Tuesday for the Greytown Police Hub. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

KAREN COLTMAN
[email protected]

Six years after the town’s police station closed, Greytown is getting a cop shop.

The Kuratawhiti St Greytown Police Hub opens for the first time tomorrow at 12.30pm and closes at 3pm.

It opens again on a regular basis on Mondays from 10am to 2pm and on Thursdays.

During Tuesday’s open day, Wairarapa Police Area Commander Scott Miller had two officers walking the beat down the shopping strip, two heading to Kuranui College, and another couple making hotdogs and chatting to passers-by.

This is exactly what Miller wants for the town.

In half an hour, 15 people had dropped into the new police hub on Tuesday to meet his team.

Greytown resident, former real estate agent Helen Dempsey, said the district was lucky to have the police “back here again”.

“To have these amazing people, that I have found over the years to be very helpful to my family to be back in town is just great,” Dempsey said.

Constable Dana Johanson came by the hub and then went off to Kuranui College for a “spot check” on teenagers taking their cars out at lunchtime.

“We keep an eye on how they are doing. There was a terrible accident many years ago when a lunchtime drive with mates resulted in a life-changing spinal injury for a passenger,” Johanson said.

In January 2014, police stations in Greytown and Martinborough closed to the public during restructuring and sole charge positions were disestablished.

When Miller started the job in 2018, he held public meetings and canvassed the South Wairarapa community.

He then decided the need for a regular community presence was warranted and required back in all three towns.

“My assessment is that South Wairarapa needed a seven-days-a-week presence and this is how the community rural policing team has evolved,” Miller said.

“People need to be able to come and talk to us.

“If something has happened over the weekend, they can come in and get advice.”

When the South Wairarapa towns no longer had a dedicated police constable, Warren Woodgyer started a petition to get them back.

While he has praised Miller for listening and making some movement towards this, he said the hours offered were not adequate.

“It’s nice to have this presence back but it is just a start,” Woodgyer said.

“I feel that as the towns grow, for the feeling of safety a dedicated community officer for each town will be needed.

“I have been on hold for half an hour on the non-emergency phone numbers and passed between 111 and that number.

Really, it would be better to walk straight into a local police station any day of the week.”

He will keep pushing for this result.

The police are sharing the Greytown Trust Lands Trust-owned building with Department of Corrections probation officers.

Service manager Mel Morris has worked in probation for more than 20 years at 5 Albert St, Masterton and had staff at Featherston’s Turret House.

Turret House has been sold by Presbyterian Support.

“We’ll be here in Kuratawhiti St with the door open every Wednesday morning,” Morris said.

“We do home visits too, but with the poor public transport options between Masterton and Featherston, we are pleased to have a site in the middle.

“People on probation are part of the community and we are working to ease them back into the community successfully.”

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