2 Feb 2016

West Coast police review prompts meeting

8:24 pm on 2 February 2016

A planned review of police services on the West Coast has triggered widespread concern in the community, the Buller District Council says.

Acting chief executive Craig Scanlon said the council would facilitate a public meeting in Westport on Thursday to discuss the proposed changes.

Details of the review, released last week for consultation, included plans to axe Karamea's only police officer, although a patrol base would remain and a police presence would be managed seasonally.

The review of service delivery on the West Coast has also mooted a new police tactical squad.

Tasman District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus said the review would not reduce overall staff numbers but some roles would go while others would be created.

A new tactical squad with a focus on organised crime was aimed at enhancing policing on the West Coast, which was raised by staff during last year's review.

Mr Scanlon said there was a strong feeling in the community the proposed changes would put public safety at risk.

"We've been inundated with calls from many in the community, in the last week or so since the announcement of the review. Given our district's problems that we're facing at the moment, the last thing we believe we need is a lessening in our police activities," he said.

Mr Scanlon said police in small communities provided a pivotal role which was wider then crime prevention or responding to crime.

Ms Malthus said police staff, the community and stakeholders would be consulted before a final decision was due by the end of March.

The public meeting is at 5.15pm at the Grandstand in Westport on , Victoria Square, Westport.