Southern police lead the way

The Southern police district is leading the country in reducing serious road crashes, and performing well in all other key policing services.

Data released yesterday by New Zealand police showed a 22% reduction in crash-related hospital stays of more than one day in the Southern district during the year to June 30, compared with the previous financial year.

Southern district commander Superintendent Andrew Coster said he was happy with how the district was tracking, and data from the past five years showed even greater achievements by Southern police.

''These new performance indicators paint a relatively modest picture of what's been achieved. We are in a position of strength and I'm confident that we'll only get stronger,'' he said.

Latest statistics showed a 2% reduction in recorded offences in the Southern district, but Supt Coster said since the 2008-09 financial year the reduction was closer to 25%.

The reduction in serious crashes was particularly important, as injury and death from road incidents had massive social and economic consequences for the community, he said.

Southern's large roading network and physical terrain meant road policing was a major focus, and officers had worked hard to get drivers to slow down, stay sober, comply with licence restrictions and consider road conditions.

Even a 1km reduction in average speeds would reduce road trauma significantly, he said.

''To be leading the country with a 22% reduction, that's a great result and represents a very significant reduction in the human impact of road trauma. It's not just a statistic. There are real people behind that who can live ordinary lives because they haven't been the victim of a serious crash.''

Supt Coster was also pleased 79% of residents trusted and had confidence in Southern police, but aimed to reach 100%.

''We police by consent, so we need the vast majority of people to be on board. Seventy-nine percent is a result that police forces around the world would envy, but we can't be complacent and want to improve.''

The 96% of Southern residents who felt safe in their neighbourhood during the day was beyond the national target of 92%, and reflected the significant drop in crime nationwide over the past few years.

''We live in a safe part of a very safe country, and it's great. But again we can't be complacent,'' Supt Coster said.

Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls said performance data would be published quarterly, allowing the public to see how well police were reducing crime, reducing death and injury on roads, protecting communities and maintaining trust.

''These performance indicators have been developed to help the public better understand what we are trying to achieve with our prevention first approach,'' he said.

On any given day, police stopped 1550 cars, conducted 220 foot patrols, completed 860 bail checks and conducted 7950 breath screening tests, Mr Nicholls said.

''We also deal with 1.74 million calls for police assistance each year, including 715,000 emergency calls.''

Regularly publishing information would improve transparency and increase public understanding, he said.


The numbers: Southern police performance (12 months to June 30). -
• 22% reduction in crash-related hospital stays of more than one day.
• 2% reduction in recorded offences.3% reduction in the number of crime victims.
• 172 foot patrols per 10,000 people.
• 90% of crimes involving human victims resolved within 30 days.
• 96% of people feel safe in their neighbourhood during the day.
• 79% of people trust and have confidence in police.


- rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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