Decade of helping keep streets safer marked

Dunedin South Community Patrol chairman Tubby Hopkins. Photos by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin South Community Patrol chairman Tubby Hopkins. Photos by Craig Baxter.
In the decade since the Dunedin South Community Patrol began monitoring the city's street life, it has clocked up an estimated 100,000km and 12,000 man-hours.

Chairman Tubby Hopkins has been there since the patrol's inception.

Past and present volunteers at  a special 10th anniversary celebration held at the South Dunedin...
Past and present volunteers at a special 10th anniversary celebration held at the South Dunedin Police Station on Saturday.
He and 40 other past and present volunteers celebrated the group's 10th anniversary at the South Dunedin Police Station at the weekend.

The biggest change for the volunteer group was receiving its own car six years ago, and a dedicated police radio a year later.

"That has made a world of difference," Mr Hopkins said.

The patrol also received taskings from police, which could be as simple as keeping an eye on an area recently targeted by thieves, or for a wanted offender.

"We are the eyes and ears of the police. That is how we see ourselves."

Some nights were more mundane, but others "get your heart going and you have to go home and have a couple of sherries to calm you down."

It was difficult to measure the full impact of the patrol, but patrol members regularly spotted and reported suspected drink drivers, he said.

The patrol was always seeking new volunteers, so they could help keep the streets safe for another decade.

-hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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