Community Patrol steps up a gear

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Queenstown Community Patrol hopes a brand-new patrol vehicle, launched this week, will drive recruitment of more volunteer patrollers.

On the beat since last October, patrollers act as extra eyes and ears for the uniformed police.

Chairman Bruce Jefford says the “very spacious and comfortable” $45,000 Mitsubishi Outlander SUV “will make patrolling far more attractive and very pleasing when driving around Queenstown and the whole area covered by local police”.

Grants of $20,000 from Central Lakes Trust (CLT) and $15,000 from Central Trust of Southland (CTOS) facilitated the purchase.

“It’s a shame Queenstown’s council didn’t support us, though”, Jefford says.

CLT grants programme manager Vicci Lawrence says her trust recognises the valuable service the Queenstown Community Patrol provides in collaboration with the police to create a safer place.

“As the population in the region grows, it’s increasingly important to work together for community wellbeing and to properly resource the volunteers who work on our behalf.”

Jefford, meanwhile, is hoping to lift volunteer numbers from 17 to about 30 to increase the patrol’s daytime and nighttime coverage.

Patrollers walk or drive in pairs and report suspicious or unruly behaviour to police.

“We’ve also been first on the scene at accidents and been able to deal with traffic control till the police arrive.”

Recruits receive training from both the police and Community Patrols of New Zealand, which has almost 160 patrols nationwide.

“All we ask for is one patrol a month for about four hours, but if someone can do more, it’s really appreciated,” Jefford says.

Anyone interested can contact local community policing sergeant Blair Duffy at blair.duffy@police.govt.nz