Police staff in Wanaka and Oamaru are concerned their police
stations lack sufficient armoured screening to protect them
from the public.
Seven stations across the country are listed in the latest
New Zealand Police Association magazine Police News as
justifying safety concerns about staff.
They are Wanaka, Oamaru, Rolleston, Paeroa, Levin, Tauranga
and New Plymouth.
The issue first came to public attention in October when the
Otago Daily Times reported the association was acting
for Wanaka staff over the design of their new $3 million
police station - officially opened in October.
Staff were unhappy at a lack of barriers above the public
counter in the station foyer.
The Police News article says a working group that provided
input during the planning of the Wanaka station signed off on
a public counter design with armoured glass barriers.
However, the design was changed and the working party was not
''On the day the station opened, an official [Health and
Safety in Employment Act] hazard notice was issued,'' the
The foyer also has a counter that is less than 750mm high,
with no barrier above it.
The article quoted a Wanaka staff member saying an individual
''would be able to hurdle this bench, gaining full access to
the whole police station''.
Another police officer considered the Wanaka design was a
breach of health and safety standards because of an increased
risk of physical harm and workplace stress.
''While seated at my desk, I suspect I should wear an SRBA
[stab-proof] vest. I need to monitor hazards in my office
area such as scissors and other potential stabbing
The article quoted Oamaru Senior Constable Bruce Dow saying:
''Anyone can come into the Oamaru station, easily slide or
jump over the counter and walk straight into the watch house
by turning a single door handle''.
It pointed out the new $20 million Tauranga station had a
7.5m-long public counter with no barriers and it was being
investigated by Occupational Safety and Health after a
volunteer worker at the station was ''frightened by a
particularly belligerent member of the public''.
The article said the association was worried new police
station designs were placing staff at ''unnecessary risk''.
''Although it is, fortunately, rare, agitated offenders do
enter police stations determined to menace staff.''
Measures to improve safety at the Wanaka station are due by
In response to ODT questions about the issues raised
in the Police News article, police national manager asset
optimisation Andrew Macarthur said he was aware of Wanaka
issues but no formal complaint had been made by the
''Our new facilities are designed to provide an open and safe
environment for staff which assists them to perform both
their operational tasks and to interact with the public. We
are happy to work with our staff to address any workplace
issues that arise.''