Hands-on police operation showing signs of success

You may have found Ormiston Police Station unusually quiet yesterday.

Instead, you would have seen more police, from frontline officers to the area commander, out on the streets.

This move is part of Operation Pay Day, a fortnightly initiative started earlier this year to reduce victimisation, improve trust and confidence in the community and to improve knowledge and skills within the police teams on different areas of policing.

Each fortnight focuses on a different aspect of policing with this week’s focus on road policing, which saw Ormiston Police Station personnel head out to major intersections, school zones and high-speed areas in the counties Manukau area.

“Road Policing concentrates on what we call the ‘fatal five’ offences which are Speed, Intersections, Restraints, Alcohol and High risk drivers such as disqualified or suspended drivers. These are seen as the most common contributors to people crashing,” says Senior Sergeant and Crime Prevention Manager, Stephen Richards.

“This is not solely about enforcement,” he says. “It is mostly about preventing the offence before it occurs, by being highly visible in high speed areas and intersections that are high crash risks.”

Reassurance visits, preventative visits, and proactive patrolling in hot locations where increased crime is recorded are also key parts of the operation.

Richards says the response to the operation has been very positive, with community members and business owners expressing their appreciation for the police getting out and about.

“People like to see our police men and women out on the streets, walking the talk, instead of only seeing us drive past in our cars, with sirens on, as we head to an emergency incident.”

The operation has so far proved to have a positive impact on reported crime rates, Richards says, but the challenge is to keep reported incidents low.

“When we have this high visibility and complete prevention work along with the community, it has a positive effect on our reported crime week.”

“The focus last time was on property crime such as burglary and theft from vehicles and it resulted in the lowest reported burglary and vehicle crime compared to other weeks.”

Richards says that while the police have done similar operations in the past, this is one of the first that is carried out on a regular basis.

“Most important is to ensure there are fewer victims, and we believe by focussing on criminal hotspots, we can place our staff there and create strong police presence in this area. The hope is that either criminals will go elsewhere or we might stumble across them and interrupt their activity,” Richards says.

“This also promotes trust and confidence in our community because they can see we are actively working to prevent further crime.”