‘Eyes and ears’

Police will soon have extra eyes and ears in Wakatipu, with the introduction of a new community patrol team.

Non-profit, voluntary group Community Patrols of New Zealand (CPNZ) operates more than 140  patrols across the country.

In May 2008, in an effort to tackle late-night and alcohol-fuelled violence, the Queenstown Lakes District Council announced its intention to trial  "Queenstown community guides". The guides were funded by the Ministry of Justice curbing alcohol-related violence programme and operated for several years.

The Wakatipu community patrol would be part of a wider goal to improve safety and emphasise the partnership between police and the community, police said.

Given the increasing number of visitors to the Queenstown area and seasonal influxes, the regular patrol would be beneficial to all.

Volunteers were needed.

The volunteers, who would be encouraged to patrol for about four hours a month, depending on the patrol size, would work closely with the police and be their extra "eyes and ears", reporting incidents, gathering  information, identifying suspicious behaviour and patrolling areas of concern.

Training, by CPNZ,  would be designed to fit around what was best for the area.

An information evening would be held at the Queenstown Police Station on June 7, at 7pm.

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