Public take opportunity to see how police work

Kieran Rotarangi (9), of Dunedin, sees if the job fits during the New Zealand Police Open Day at the Dunedin Central Police Station on Saturday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Kieran Rotarangi (9), of Dunedin, sees if the job fits during the New Zealand Police Open Day at the Dunedin Central Police Station on Saturday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Seldom are Dunedin police cells left open for people to come and go as they please.

But Saturday was an exception. It was the New Zealand Police Open Day and about 1000 people visited the Dunedin Central Police Station to get a look behind the scenes at what goes on.

The station tour included an armed offenders squad static display, a patrol car display, a Search and Rescue display, and a Bluelight barbecue.

Similar tours were given at police stations around the country, including at Invercargill and Alexandra which attracted about 1700 and 500 people, respectively.

Visitors learnt about the work done by police, including road policing, the maritime units, the police dog section, the armed offenders squads, dive squad, forensics, the financial crime group, Interpol, the Diplomatic Protection Service, Search and Rescue, the Police College, the Police Prosecution Service and even the police pipe band.

Southern District commander Inspector Andrew Coster said New Zealand police had changed over the past decade and the open day aimed to show the public what the police service looks like in 2014.

''While much about what we do remains the same, there is also much that has changed.

''Today, we are spending less time in stations and more time working out in the community to prevent crime.

''With nearly 14,000 iPhones and iPads issued to staff, we have made ourselves into one of the most mobile police organisations in the world.

''Newly introduced technology enables our frontline officers to carry out job-critical tasks such as running queries on persons and vehicles, completing bail checks and intel notings on their iPhone or iPad device.''

Being mobile had freed up 30 minutes of police time for every frontline officer, every shift, he said.

-john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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