Reduced hours as police station reopens

The South Dunedin community policing centre in Macandrew Rd. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
The South Dunedin community policing centre in Macandrew Rd. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
South Dunedin's police station will reopen to the public today, albeit with reduced hours, more than a year after the floods that closed it.

The station was damaged during last June's floods which swept through low-lying southern city suburbs.

The shortened public counter hours have left community leaders disappointed and they are sceptical of the reasons given for the delay in reopening the station.

Acting Otago Coastal area commander Inspector Kelvin Lloyd said the station would be open to the public from 11am to 2pm on weekdays after previously being open six hours a day.

The change reflected ''current demand'' for a public counter service, he said.

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said she was ''disappointed'' by the reduction in hours.

''It seems like a cutback,'' she said.

''I would like a strong, solid commitment by police to South Dunedin.''

She was pleased the station had returned as she feared the long closure suggested an intention to permanently abandon a public counter service.

South Dunedin Business Association president Marty Ham said the reopening was ''a long time overdue''.

''We are very pleased to see it open again,'' he said.

Greater South Dunedin Community Trust chairman Ray Macleod said the trust was ''delighted''.

''As a community and as a community group, we are delighted it's reopening and we are thankful to the police for doing that,'' he said.

Insp Lloyd said police had worked with contractors to ''ensure the station opened as quickly as possible so both the public counter could be reopened and police teams moved back in''.

The family harm team, South Dunedin neighbourhood policing team and the community constable had also returned to the station, he said.

''Our main concern had always been ensuring the station was safe for the public and our staff before it was reopened,'' he said

The decision to reduce the counter hours was made after a review of demand for counter services and considering community feedback.

''We stress that this change does not mean a reduction in service. In fact, this will free up more of our staff to be available to the community, rather than sitting in offices behind desks,'' he said.

''This means police staff will continue to patrol and be visible out on the street where members of the community are still very much welcome to approach and talk with us.''

Police had considered using volunteers, he said.

timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

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