Again focused on the wrong thing

Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:

Commissioner Peter Marshall is defending the closure of 10 offices during the past year.

MP Phil Goff yesterday accused the Government of misleading the public and said Police Minister Anne Tolley had given a commitment a year ago that no police stations would close.

“You’ve closed 10 stations since September last year, eight of them in Auckland, and that’s probably not the full story because my local police station has had ‘temporarily closed’ on its door for the last four months,” Mr Goff, the MP for Mt Roskill, told Mrs Tolley during a law and order committee meeting at Parliament yesterday.

There was an angry outburst when Mrs Tolley told the committee there was a difference between police stations, and community stations and kiosks.

“Some of those are being closed and no-one’s ever denied that.”

Mr Marshall said he had been asked the same question last year and he had given an assurance no police stations would be closed for financial reasons.

“I stand by that statement. A number of bases – whether you call them kiosks or community bases and indeed a police station – have been closed purely for operational reasons because we have decided it does not fit the type of business and service we want to provide to a community at any given time.”

The offices closed by police included those in Orewa and downtown Auckland, the Porirua community constable base and Halswell Community Office.

Figures supplied by the police show a survey of community police centres in Petone, Naenae and Wainuiomata found that fewer than 1.5 visitors an hour called in to those offices and most were for meetings, contractors delivering goods, people reporting on bail and wanting general community information. Less than a third were reporting a crime or inquiring about lost property.

Labour at times appear to be ultra-conservative. They oppose any change from the status quo in the public sector – no matter what.

They think it is more important that the location and number of offices be never ever changed, than having the Police actually locate offices where they are most needed. Basically these three centres were on average each having only four people a day use them to report crime or lost property. Yet Labour is outraged that they are maintained.

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