Police searching for new base

The Auckland Council-owned land the Howick police station sits on will soon be for sale. Times photo

East Auckland residents concerned they may lose a long-standing police presence in the community can rest easy.

Plans are advancing to sell the Auckland Council-owned property occupied by the Howick police station.

The site at 34 Moore Street contains the empty building that was formerly the local area police headquarters as well as the small portable building that serves as the current Howick station, accessed from Fencible Drive.

It’s one of dozens of properties the council wants to sell in an effort to raise money.

Counties Manukau East Police previously said the six Howick-based officers will relocate to the Ormiston station and continue to serve Howick and Flat Bush along with the wider area as required when the site is sold.

“We can reassure the public this change will have minimal impact and they can expect to see their community officers still maintaining the same strong presence in Howick,” police said in April.

But Counties Manukau East area commander, Inspector Scott Gemmell, now says the officers will stay in Howick.

He says the council has told police it’s readying 34 Moore Street for sale, “although no date has been set for the property to be taken to market”.

“Counties Manukau Police is committed to remaining in the wider Howick area and are presently looking for a new base for our six community officers,” Gemmell says.

“It’s important to both police and the community in Howick and the surrounding areas that police maintain a presence in the area.

“We have an excellent relationship with our community and they are extremely supportive of police.”

Gemmell says he’ll provide an update once decisions have been made, but it will take some time to find a new suitable location.

Council organisation Panuku Development Auckland is managing the property’s sale.

About 200 concerned locals turned out to a public meeting held on the issue in Howick in May.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown and Botany MP Christopher Luxon have since spoken to a council manager and written to Panuku to try to stop the sale or have the property subdivided so police can stay at the site.

“We’re pleased to hear police are actively looking for a new location in Howick village for the six community constables who serve east Auckland following Auckland Council’s decision to sell the land under the existing station on Fencible Drive,” Brown and Luxon say.

“Our local community constables do an excellent job supporting locals affected by crime, preventing crime from taking place and providing a strong local presence in our community.

“Having them based in Howick is critical to ensuring east Auckland residents not only are safe, but feel safe.

“We will continue to support the police as they look for a new location.”

A Panuku spokeswoman previously told the Times the organisation is working through processes to sell the property.

That includes providing iwi and mana whenua partners with early notification of the opportunity “allowing a limited contestable period for initial expressions of interest before being taken to the open market”, she said.

“34 Moore Street is destined to become a mixed-use development including homes, aligning with the vision for the site outlined in the Howick Village Centre Plan.”