Security guards stood down at most Doc offices

Security guards were stationed at most Department of Conservation offices throughout the West Coast for two weeks this month.

Western South Island operations director Mark Davies, of Hokitika, said yesterday most had since been stood down from daily duties.

Starting from October 8, one guard per office had been assigned.

Asked if the extra security was related to threats over the use of 1080 poison, Mr Davies said: ''In recent months there has been an increase in the number of incidents of threats and harassment to Doc staff and contractors as they go about their conservation work on behalf of all New Zealanders''.

The West Coast had been identified as a hot spot for threats against the department and Doc staff.

''Incidents have occurred,'' Mr Davies said.

He would not elaborate other than to say there had been direct threats.

''We are concerned about the safety and well-being of staff and are taking a precautionary approach.''

Doc took the threat and harassment of its staff seriously .

It was taking a zero-tolerance approach to that behaviour, he said.

The cost of hiring the security guards was commercially privileged, Doc said.


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