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What is a community patrol?
A community patrol is a voluntary group of people giving some of their time and taking responsibility within their own community to help the Police make their community a safer environment in which to live. Any citizen who has a caring attitude to their community may offer their services.
Community patrols may have links to local Councils and organisations sharing a similar interest in community safety but it is important community patrols remain autonomous and are managed by a committee of their members. Members meet regularly for training and to discuss issues and opportunities.
Local patrols are encouraged to affiliate with Community Patrols of New Zealand. A condition of affiliation to Community Patrols of New Zealand is that the patrol has the support and confidence of the Police and has a police liaison officer allocated to work with it.
Community patrollers act as 'eyes and ears' for police. Patrolling their community in pairs, patrollers note anything that could be suspicious and inform police immediately of incidents requiring urgent attention. Some patrols have a very high profile in their community with a sign-written car, while others prefer to stay covert or drive their own car. Patrollers usually patrol once a month.
Applicants are vetted by the Police before becoming patrol members and must complete a period of training (usually three months) where they work with senior patrollers.
Police notify the patrol of suspicious activities and trouble spots they would like the patrol to keep an eye on, as well as informing the patrol of events occurring in the area. Each member must sign a declaration of confidentiality and agree to abide by a code of conduct before working with the patrol.
Waitaki Community Patrol first patrol -November 17th 2012
Waitaki Community Patrols
On the 28th of May a public meeting was held in Oamaru to ascertain the level of support for a Community Patrol in the Waitaki District.
This meeting was the catalyst for the formation of a Waitaki Community Patrol establishment committee. During the intervening period between May and September the committee has been working tirelessly to ensure the Waitaki Community Patrol becomes a reality.
The Chairperson of the Waitaki Community Patrol Andrew Wilson said, “The Waitaki Community Patrol consists of a group of volunteers who are concerned for the safety and well-being of the elderly and other people living alone in our community.
By working as a group to assist the Police as extra eyes and ears to monitor/patrol our community we want to make our district a safe and happy place to live. We hope, by our example, to make people more aware of how important it is for everyone to take responsibility for the safety of their community by reporting crime and anti social behaviour.”
Mr Wilson also said “the Waitaki Community Patrol has now reached a critical stage in its development.
We have formalised a committee, are setting up procedures, structure, training and development of volunteers and familiarising ourselves with future tasks.
Alongside this we are seeking sponsorship and funding to assist us to mobilise the Patrol. There are over 140 Community Patrols in New Zealand and currently we are one of three new Patrols being established.”
Police Sergeant Wayne Brew said, “Community Patrols do make a difference and operate successfully across New Zealand. The Police work in partnership with Community Patrols. The Patrol works through a roster of volunteers who will meet with Police to receive identified tasks for their two to four hour patrol. Each patroller is expected to carry out a minimum of one patrol per month to keep their training and skills current. Patrols may be utilized for such things as monitoring of gatherings, vehicles and areas where antisocial behaviour is occurring. The presence of the Patrol vehicle will act as a deterrent giving potential lawbreakers a chance to reconsider their activities and desist before acting unlawfully or antisocially.”
Waitaki District Council Community safety and Development Facilitator Helen Algar said “The implementation of the Community Patrol is a positive development for the Waitaki District and an indication of the level of commitment by the community to take care of each others safety and well-being.
The presence of a Waitaki Community Patrol will compliment and augment the work of the Waitaki Guardians.
The Guardians are a foot patrol and interact directly with the public and although they attend events when required, the primary focus of their activity is the central business district.
The Community Patrol is made up of volunteers, is vehicle based and tasked by Police to respond where they are needed.
This will provide a valuable service, not just to Oamaru but to the wider Waitaki District.”
Mr Wilson says “If you would like to learn more about becoming a Community Patroller we would love to hear from you” Contact Helen Algar on 03 434 5284 or email