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A big boost for blue line

In a government funding move described by local police leadership as ‘very positive’, Wairarapa is on track for a significant boost in law enforcement across the region.

The funds mean more officers on the ground, as well as increased access to dog-handling teams and better intelligence.

Wairarapa Police Area Commander Inspector Scott Miller said last week’s announcement by Police Minister Ginny Andersen meant the region’s policing would be significantly enhanced.

Andersen said the initiative, called the Tactical Response Model [TRM], follows recently increased investment in frontline staff. TRM would involve using a range of tools, including enhanced intelligence, to help Police anticipate dangerous and high-risk situations before they arise.

The announcement included a promise of $122 million in extra government funding.

Separate from last week’s announcement, the region would also get more officers for rural policing.

“Rolling out TRM in Wairarapa will result in having access at any time to larger teams of tactically trained officers to work with our local staff on identified local persons who wish to cause our community harm,” Miller said.

“There are four constable positions added to the rural community team, which are Wairarapa-area staff allocated from Wellington District and are permanently based in the Wairarapa. This was not part of the TRM allocation.

“The TRM will also complement our recent increase in community and rural staffing, bringing higher improved police capability to our rural areas and to Wairarapa towns, Miller said yesterday.

“The TRM launched this week is very positive for Wairarapa police and also for the community.” He said the region had already made good progress in proactively managing high-risk situations.

“We are directly connected daily to better intelligence-gathering for real-time notification of criminal activity across the Wairarapa, and we have increased staffing to our Wairarapa high-risk targeting team.

Rolling out TRM in Wairarapa will result in having access at any time to larger teams of tactically trained officers to work with our local staff on identified local persons who wish to cause our community harm.”

Andersen said the new model would be backed up by offender prevention teams and two-person tactical dog teams in each district across New Zealand.

“We are on track to reach our target of 1,800 more officers on the ground by the end of June this year,” she said.

Miller said while dog handlers were a shared resource, they would live in the region.

“The two-person dog teams are a Wellington district resource and will be rostered to the Wairarapa on the 24/7 shifts as they will be rostered to the other three areas,” he said.

“Dog handlers will live in the Wairarapa, which will make it easier to start and finish shifts here.”

Miller said at present, Wairarapa police have an extra 30 per cent of resources above the normal area structure. The dog teams would be part of this resource.

“The number of extra dog handlers and tactical officers for Wellington District is not yet finalised, but it will be a significant increase,” he said.

Full numbers and positions were expected to be filled by June 2023.

South Wairarapa District Councillor Aidan Ellims, who is a former New Zealand police officer, welcomed the news but was disappointed South Wairarapa towns appeared not to be getting dedicated resources.

“It is great to see that policing resources for Wairarapa area are increasing, with the goal of improving both the safety of police officers and the community,” he said.

“Unfortunately, from this announcement, it seems with the increased numbers of police staff in Wairarapa, police management does not want to permanently reopen the stations in Martinborough, Greytown and Featherston that have been closed for a number of years.”

“In October last year, police announced a mobile policing unit would be deployed to South Wairarapa.

“To date, I haven’t had any feedback from our community that they have noticed an increased police presence in Martinborough, so I’m hoping with increased resources, we will see that improve.”

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