Prevention focus of police plan

Mel Aitken.
Mel Aitken.
Increasing domestic violence, youth disorder and alcohol-related crime during the Christmas holiday period are being tackled by Dunedin police.

A summer policing plan has been implemented to target the many issues associated with Christmas and the holidays, including financial stress, family tension, bored school-aged children, greater alcohol consumption and long-distance road travel.

Inspector Mel Aitken, the area prevention manager for Dunedin, Clutha and Waitaki, was leading the charge from the central Dunedin police station.

She said all Dunedin police staff were engaged in the plan, as well as many community groups and agencies.

''It's a whole-of-policing approach and it's all about prevention,'' she said.

More staff would be deployed ''on the beat'', there would be increased road checkpoints, and police officers would directly contact victims or potential victims of family violence to ensure issues were addressed.

Domestic violence spiked in the lead-up to Christmas Day, and there was an increase in disorder due to more people drinking larger quantities of alcohol, Insp Aitken said.

People also took more risks with drink-driving as a result of end-of-year and Christmas work functions, and more people travelled to and from holiday destinations, where they often consumed alcohol.

Insp Aitken said school-aged children typically became bored during holidays and involved themselves in disorder such as vandalism, graffiti and shoplifting.

Large groups of young people in the central city sometimes prompted police attention, she said.

Empty school grounds also became targets for wilful damage, burglary and theft.

As part of the summer policing plan, officers visited schools to talk about preventing crime by securing property.

''We remind them not to leave laptops in view of windows and things like that,'' Insp Aitken said.

As more people used outdoor recreation areas, thieves targeted public car parks, and vehicle owners were urged to keep valuables hidden and secure, she said.

The summer policing plan was officially implemented earlier this month and would run until the end of January. Partner agencies include community patrols, the Dunedin City Council, city safety officers, Neighbourhood Support and Campus Watch.

''It's a Dunedin initiative. We've had it going for a couple of years but I think each year we get better at how we frame it,'' Insp Aitken said.

''It's really just about more co-ordination and identifying issues so we can take a proactive approach - it's all about reducing harm.''

New Zealand Police national prevention manager Bruce Bird said there had been an average of 436 criminal apprehensions throughout New Zealand on December 25, over the last five years.

A ''typical day'' saw an average of 596 criminal apprehensions, Mr Bird said.

Assault and disorderly behaviour were the most common criminal offences committed on Christmas Day.

Dunedin's long term residents

GW Scam, Dunedin's long term residents are about all that's keeping this place afloat. I find your friend's comments amusing as replacing the long termers with "so called" sensible people just wouldn't happen. Sensible people wouldn't move here in the first instance.

I agree though, that there are many bad drivers here, myself not included . . .

Comments not valid

Sorry Dundee Boy, but your comments are completely invalid.

After all, it was you who continually tried to stand up for traffic policing in Dunedin by saying 'Statistics show drivers here are fine', until two seperate news stories quoted statistics that showed Dunedin has NZ's worst drivers, then you went all quiet. Funny that?

However, you are also one of the reasons why drivers here are so bad.  Firstly you are determined to defend the very slack traffic policing.  Secondly, you seem to have no problem with the terrible drivers, which I am guessing means you are one of them.

Maybe if a family member of yours is injured or even killed by one of the maniac drivers here (lets hope not), you will wake up to how childish and dangerous your constant defence of driving standards has been.

By the way, my wife and I have considered moving back to Auckland many times - for two main reasons.  One, we feel we risk our lives and those of our childrens every time we drive on Dunedin roads and are faced with numerous drivers constantly crossing the centre line, running red lights, etc.  Two, because of the terrible and backward thinking attitude of many of its residents.

I have to agree with a good friend who just moved here, and commented about drivers here, saying:  "Dunedin would be easily NZ's best city, if you could just replace most of the long term residents with sensible people, who knew how to drive."  

Never so true a word has been spoken. [Abridged] 


Bon Voyage

There's the easy answer, Scam. If you're not satisfied with the driver safety or policing in this community perhaps you need to move to Invercargill.


Then in reality...

I have to comment about my observations after two days in Invercargill, verses my observations in Dunedin.

On Monday within two hours I saw three vehicles stopped for driving offences on the main roads by three different vehicles. On top of that I would have seen at least 5 patrols over the two days.

In Dunedin, last week I think I saw two patrol cars, niether of the occupants appeared the slightest bit interested in all those changing lanes without indicating, speeding, running orange/red lights, failing to give way, etc.

As have said many times, there is something seriously amiss with the Police culture in Dunedin in regards to traffic control. It is now at the stage where almost every light change you have to wait for anything from one to four cars to finish running the red light before you can go through your green light!

No wonder Dunedin has by far the worst accident rate in NZ. Yet, we also seem to have the most inefficient and ineffective Police Force when it comes to traffic control. Coincidence? I think not!


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