By Shelley Topp
The Rangiora Community Patrol volunteers have a new patrol vehicle on their wish list for Christmas this year.
The patrol received an early Christmas present as one of MainPower’s 2019 Community Fund recipients, but more money is needed to replace its old Suzuki Vitara, which has 110,000km on the odometer.
The Rangiora Community Patrol was formed 24 years ago as the Rangiora Community Watch. It is part of the Community Patrols of New Zealand network and had a name change recently to align with that.
The patrols are organised and run by volunteers in their communities and funded with grants, sponsorships and donations.
The volunteers work closely with police as extra them and other agencies to build safer communities.
The patrols are independent from the police but receive regular police guidance, training and tasking.
“We drive around the business and residential areas on the lookout for anything suspicious,” Rangiora Community Patrol volunteer Des East says.
The volunteers also patrol areas police ask them to monitor.
If volunteers find any suspicious activity, they do not intervene. “We hang back and we advise the police and they take it from there,” Des says.
The patrol also needs more volunteer drivers, passengers and camera operators.
“We must have two people in the car in case we need a witness,” Des says.
Having two volunteers in the patrol vehicle also enables the driver to concentrate on driving and the passenger to concentrate on observing.
“We normally only require one shift per month from volunteers for about three to four hours.”
To become a volunteer community patrol officer, applicants must be aged over 18 and pass a police check.