The Southern district's top policeman has rejected a
claim police are not attending smaller crimes as the
organisation undergoes major changes.
An anonymous report in a police union magazine alleged police
were ignoring ''smaller, hands-on crimes'' as staff focused
Superintendent Andrew Coster, who was clearly rankled by the
report, told the Otago Daily Times ''that is not accurate''.
Police continued to respond to reported crimes, but a move
from ''respond and investigate'' policing to a preventive
model was a ''massive change in mindset for staff''.
''Prevention is causing us to consider how we can best
utilise the police time available to us.''
He cited an example of an officer spotting a technical breach
of a liquor ban by an overseas tourist, and while that person
could be arrested he questioned if tying up police resources
The national move to a prevention model - dubbed ''Prevention
First'' - was the most substantial change in policing
''potentially in decades'', Supt Coster said.
''That philosophy meant putting prevention at the forefront
of policing and victims at the centre, and when we do that we
will reduce crime.''
''It has a very positive impact on crime right across the
country, and Southern is very much part of that.''
He noted that while victims wanted to receive a good service
from police, ''they would much rather not be a victim in the
''The end result of that is, statistics aside, we want crime
to reduce,'' Supt Coster said.
To keep the crime rate coming down it was important the
district had a high performance leadership team, he said.
''I am strongly committed to getting the kind of leadership
in place that the district needs to succeed.''
''We have new sergeants coming in and part of that is getting
the leadership positions filled with the right people,
because those leadership positions are critical for
communicating to staff ... what we are doing.''
Police were also listening to the community about any
concerns, he said.
''I much prefer a community that cares about crime and safety
than one that is indifferent.''