18 Jul 2016

Concern over weekend police station closure

2:27 pm on 18 July 2016

A number of police stations throughout the country will be closed at weekends for a few months while construction work is done at front desks.

The work is to make the areas safer for police civilian staff, but there are some concerns about what will happen while the stations are closed.

Upper Hutt Police Station

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Upper Hutt police station is one of a number police stations around the country getting a security upgrade.

Upper Hutt mayor Wayne Guppy was informed of the plan by Wellington district commander superintendent Sam Hoyle at a recent regional mayoralty forum.

The mayors were told that front desks of police stations across the country were deemed to be unsafe if civilian staff had to be left alone there.

Mr Guppy was told that the Upper Hutt and Porirua stations would be closed for a maximum of nine weeks and other stations across the country would be similarly affected.

He said it was "a bit frustrating" but that he and the other mayors had been assured it would not be a permanent closure, and that it would be business as usual once the work is done.

Mr Guppy said he would be monitoring the situation closely and that it was not ideal, but it was a matter of safety.

He said police knew that getting the stations running again at the weekend was a priority for the communities.

"It was made very clear that that wasn't ideal for communities but they would operate as quickly as possible."

Safety at work has been in the spotlight following the fatal shootings of two Ministry of Social Development workers in 2014 in Ashburton.

Earlier this month, the ministry pleaded guilty to failing to "take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees while at work", by failing to ensure they were not exposed to violent clients.