Otaki Community Patrol — keeping us safe

F_R_Community-PatrolI heard a great saying recently at a colleague’s farewell morning tea: ‘Whatever the question is, community is the answer’. And I knew then that perfectly expressed what I feel about the Otaki Community Patrol. 

Almost two years ago a small group of people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and ages joined together to re-form the local patrol, under the umbrella of the national Community Patrols of New Zealand. Just last year alone we travelled 7,278 km and worked 1,113 hours which makes us one of the hardest working and effective patrols in our policing district.

“a steep learning curves, a few tears and headaches, but above all a lot of fun and friendship”

We’ve had steep learning curves, a few tears and headaches, but above all a lot of fun and friendship along the way. All that work hasn’t just been about driving around and around the mostly quiet streets of Otaki during the midnight hours, we’ve also supported community events such as the Kite Festival and more recently, Xmas on Main Street.

We have a strong relationship with the local police. It’s a great feeling when some small detail we recorded that seemed completely innocuous at the time ends up helping to thwart local crime. And fewer crimes make for a safer community, a community that builds a good reputation as being a great place for families to settle and businesses to set up. And that’s good for everyone.

we didn’t do it alone

Yes, we might have bragging rights but we didn’t do it alone. Local businesses such as Otaki Automotive helped get us on the road — and keep us there. Riverstone Cafe has been an incredibly generous sponsor, helping to coordinate our collection tins, and donating the proceeds of sausage sizzles at community events. And we’ve also been supported in so many other ways by local businesses, individuals and the Otaki Community Board. All this help keeps us going — literally.

Volunteers needed

But there’s another kind of fuel we’re running short of and that’s patrollers. We don’t just need people though, but the right kind of people. If you are over 18 and have a few hours each month to spare, if you can drive well and write legibly, if you are prepared to learn new skills and information, and above all, if you are curious and observant but discreet we’d love to hear from you. You’d be part of a tightly-knit team that knows making a difference begins in just noticing stuff, and passing it on in the right way. Sometimes it can mean the difference between life and death for someone, you just never know.

If you would like to know more, or are interested in either donating or joining up, please go to the Otaki Police Station, corner of Iti and Matene Streets

Vyvien Starbuck-Maffey