Stepping out to build a safer community
Mangawhai’s streets and surrounding areas will soon be under the watchful guard of a group of commendable locals, ready and willing to assist police in keeping the area a little safer.
In a collaborated effort between officers and residents, Mangawhai Community Patrol (MCP) was officially launched on August 30, linking the volunteers to an expanding nationwide network of community patrollers.
Constable Dale Wewege, MCP’s allocated Police Liaison Officer, says having an extra presence focussed on activities in the community, will be a great benefit to police.
“Being a two-manned station, we can’t be everywhere at once… having a Community Patrol means we can gather a lot more information,” he says. “The patrol is about volunteers wanting to take some responsibility for their own community.”
Patrolling in pairs, the volunteers will span the area from Kaiwaka to Tomarata through Mangawhai, the Heads and out to Te Arai, reporting any suspicious activity and notifying police immediately on crime or serious incidents that need urgent attention.
Police also notify the MCP of events happening in the area as well as known ‘trouble spots’ to keep an eye on. Patroller’s may also help out with traffic patrol in the occurrence of serious car accidents.
“The job is not about putting their lives in danger,” Wewege says. “It's a non-confrontational role, basically driving and observing, taking notes of the goings on and sharing this information with police. We will also share with them the outcomes and successes that come from their observations.”
Initiated by Wewage and Wellsford Sergeant Geoff Medland due to Mangawhai’s ongoing growth and increase in crime including vandalism, the officers have worked with local residents and CP coordinators, Wayne Price and Trevor Downey over the last 18 months to get the patrol up and running.
The coordinators say they have relied mainly on word-of-mouth to raise funds and find local sponsors due to Mangawhai having a number of organisations involved with fundraisers.
“We decided not to go down that track, just thought we’d see what happens and word got around,” Downey says.
“We’ve received a lot of support and training from Waipu’s patrol,” Price says. “Harcourts are helping to fund fuel costs, North Rodney Blue Light donated the van, and NZ Police Head Office in Wellington have sent us a kit with torches, first aid supplies, jackets and other required items, we just need a defibrillator now.”
Other organisations involved are the women from Hakaru’s RSA, Mangawhai Pharmacy and Shamrock Auto Care.
Due to the lengthy amount of stringent rules and regulations, volunteers are required to complete three months of training with experienced patrollers, they must also be police vetted and sign a confidentiality and code of conduct declaration.
A list of at least 20 locals have registered their interest in the cause, however Downey says more volunteers are most welcome.
“We won’t be posting anything on Facebook as last year we advertised for volunteers and people replied saying we were vigilantes, so we’re not going down that track again,“ he says. “If you’re interested, just give me a call.”
Although officially beginning on Labour Weekend, Downey says the patrol will be out and about in the weeks beforehand for training runs.
n To book or to find out more information call Trevor Downey on 027 432 8774 between 8am-5pm.
KEEPING OUR COMMUNITY SAFE: Stepping up to create a safer Mangawhai (from the left); Senior Constable Graham Gough, Harcourts' Bruce Beale, Trevor Downey, Harcourts' Ken Davies, Wayne Price, MCP secretary Ngaire Price, Martin Searle (sponsor, volunteer and sign writer of van), and North Harbour Blue Light Youth Coordinator Shane Gould with Constable Dale Wewege.