Neighbourhood heroes - keeping our streets safe

Publish Date : 08 Nov 2023
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Two groups of dedicated locals are helping to keep our neighbourhoods safe by volunteering for community patrols.

Ellerslie Community Patrol is celebrating a decade of service this year, and Eastern Bays Community Patrol has been operating for almost two years.

The patrols are affiliated with Community Patrols New Zealand (CPNZ) and act as additional 'eyes and ears of the police'. They rely on funding from local businesses and grants, including from the Ōrākei Local Board.

Board deputy chair, Sarah Powrie says: “We are proud to represent an area where residents team up to look out for each other and their neighbours. Both community patrols are outstanding examples of locals making our area a better and safer place to live.”

This year, through the board’s safety fund, community patrols will also receive project funding as a one-off support for their work.

Each patrol session is made up of two volunteer patrollers, or sometimes three if a new patroller or an observer from the community is on board.

Eastern Bays Community Patrol covers the suburbs of Ōrākei, Ōkahu Bay, Mission Bay, Kohimarama, Saint Heliers, Glen Innes and Glendowie. They have one marked patrol car, and occasionally have a second patrol out.

Patrol routes vary, and John Naisbett, patrol leader for Eastern Bays Community Patrol, says the things patrollers look out for are varied too.

“We keep an eye out for suspicious activity, we investigate vehicles that have been vandalised or look suspicious. We check in with businesses and areas that have been affected by ram raids,” says John.

“One of the patrols even escorted an exhausted elderly woman home recently and made sure she had something to eat.”

Safety is key, and patrollers do not intervene in dangerous situations. Instead, they notify police communications. Instances of property damage, graffiti and street light outages are report to Auckland Council or Auckland Transport.

Ellerslie Community Patrol covers the suburbs of Ellerslie and Stonefields. This year they fundraised for their own patrol car to raise the visibility of their patrol.

With generous donations from local businesses along with grant funding from various foundations they were able to purchase their first patrol car in August 2023.

Both patrols also hold community events including fundraisers and periodic “Safer Plates” events, where the public can have the screws attaching their number plates changed, minimising the risk of plate theft.

Terry Moore, Ellerslie Community Patrol trustee and secretary, says anyone from Stonefields or Ellerslie is very welcome to join as a patroller.

“It’s an excellent way for those new to the area to meet locals and learn what is going on in the neighbourhood,” says Terry.

“The continuous support from the Police and training materials from CPNZ create a real sense of teamwork, making a meaningful contribution to the community.”

Prospective volunteers can ride along on a patrol to see what it’s like before deciding to join. Patroller induction consists of a police check, online modules and three ride alongs with patrols. Ongoing training such as first aid and safety training is also provided.

Find out more and enquire about becoming a patroller for Eastern Bays Community Patrol or Ellerslie Community Patrol. They are always eager for new volunteers.

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