24 June 2024

More Beat Cops Welcome, but At-Risk Service Stations Still Need Protection

More police on the beat in major cities is a positive step – now let’s do more to protect vulnerable workers in service stations from violent crime.

That’s the response from the Motor Trade Association to the community policing announcement at the weekend.

“The announcement is good news for retailers and the public in CBDs,” says MTA Chief Executive Lee Marshall.

“Extra cops will make a difference in those areas.

“We hope Government and police will also move to protect vulnerable staff in service stations who are at risk of violent and frightening smash-and-grab robberies and ram raids.”

Police announced yesterday that under a staged two-year roll out, 63 additional staff will be deployed in new Community Beat Teams across Auckland’s three policing districts (21 in each), 17 in Wellington and 10 in Christchurch.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the move was in response to communities affected by anti-social behaviour and retail crime wanting police to have a higher visibility.

“And that’s great – for those in the central city,” Lee says.

“But there’s not many service stations in Queen Street or Lambton Quay.

“There’s been at least 69 violent robberies on service stations this year, not to mention petrol theft and shop-lifting. Each robbery put staff at risk of physical injury and inflicts stress and trauma.

“As a starting point, we would like to see are more measures like the night checks police performed on service stations at the height of the crime wave earlier this year.”

Lee says the solutions for addressing crime are complex and MTA understands and is sympathetic to the challenges faced by police and Government.

“The first thing we would ask is Government engages with us and similar organisations to understand the issues and work together towards solutions.”