District Command Centre deployment co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Craig Brown keeps an eye on what is happing across the Southern district. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Welcome to the DCC - the new crime-fighting District Command
Based on an upper level of the Dunedin Police Station, the
new centre pulsates with new technology.
Smartphones and tablets are on desks, rows of computer
screens detail police jobs, and an entire wall of monitors
displays CCTV footage, electronic maps and even the latest
Southern district commander Superintendent Andrew Coster said
the new centre, introduced before Christmas, helped monitor
police deployment across Otago and Southland. Command centre
staff helped frontline police in the prevention of crime,
coupled with ensuring preventive tasks had been completed by
For example, centre staff could send a mugshot of wanted
offenders or a screenshot of a person spotted on CCTV to
officers on their smart devices.
In turn, that smart technology meant officers could send
photographs and video from a crime scene to the senior
sergeants manning the centre.
Meanwhile, information from the public, such as jobs via the
crime reporting line, coupled with information provided by
police intelligence helped those deployment co-ordinators
spot trends developing in real time. Supt Coster said the
large electronic map gave police a snapshot of the district,
which helped in the deploying of staff for jobs such as road
Since the system went live, the most serious incident was an
armed offenders callout in Gore.
While that case was before the courts, the incident showed
the new centre in action by ensuring the right resources were
allocated to the event, the correct people and agencies were
notified, and media calls fielded.
Following yesterday's accident involving a petrol tanker and
a pedestrian in central Dunedin, deployment co-ordinator
Senior Sergeant Craig Brown contacted the Dunedin City
Council to change traffic light phasing and clear a backlog
of diverted traffic.
Inspector Jason Guthrie, the Southern district deployment
manager, said when the unit was fully operational, there
would be six deployment co-ordinators.
He said a new software platform would allow staff to soon
send mass alerts to specific groups, whether it be media,
accommodation providers, petrol stations and the like to warn
or provide any information about a trend.
Supt Coster said looking back a decade, police work was
largely reactive; the public would call about a crime and
officers would be called to investigate.
''We still do that, but more and more, we are are able to
understand what is happening in terms of patterns.''
The District Command Centre meant police did not look at an
event in isolation.
''We ask if there is some opportunity in the way we deal with
this event to sort it out and put in place a longer-term