Community patrols important part of crime prevention in North Canterbury

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Valued partners . . . Senior constable Tony Maw chats to Rangiora patrol leader Chris Barker. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

By ROBYN BRISTOW

Community patrols continue to play an important part in crime prevention in North Canterbury.

Senior constable Tony Maw says Community Patrols are valued partners of the police, providing extra “eyes and ears” in communities.

“We really support their role, and value the assistance they give us,” he says.

Volunteers for patrols were always being sought.

“The more volunteers, the more patrols we can put out there,” he says.

When patrols began, traditionally they were out on Friday and Saturday nights. But that had now changed, particularly as more volunteers are available and the North Canterbury areas continue to grow.

“It is about patrolling to demand. Quite often crimes are happening in the early hours of the morning, any day of the week.

“We need to be flexible, and work patrols around the demand,” he says.

Constable Maw says Neighbourhood Support was another valued partner of the police, with neighbours looking out for each other, taking notes of any suspicious behaviour, and car number plates, and calling police in a timely manner to alert them to any activity that was causing concern.

“Call 111 if it is happening now, and that includes suspicious vehicles.

“I am a big advocate of calling 111. Our call takers are experienced people, and can screen calls and maybe divert some calls to the 105 non-emergency line.

“We would much rather hear about it (suspicious activity), at that time, rather than have a burglar slip through the net.”

Constable Maw says putting concerns up on Facebook pages was great in alerting the community to unusual activity, but the police were also part of the community and needed to be alerted at the same time.

“Don’t just put it on Facebook. Alert the police.”

A recent raffle run by the Rangiora Community Patrol to help fund resources, had huge support from the community.

Rangiora patrol leader Chris Barker says the patrol was really grateful to the community for its support. The raffle prizes included petrol and Mitre 10 vouchers.

“now”, and 105 if it has already happened. People can also file reports online at: police.govt.nz/105support. “That includes anything down to minor property damage or a person acting suspiciously,” Constable Maw says.

To express an interest in joining a community patrol go to the Community Patrols NZ website.