Keeping Our Community Safe
March 4 2019 by John Fookes; Senior Sergeant, Queenstown Police
Keeping Our Community Safe. As the busy summer period tapers off, local police are reflecting on what was a busy time for the district, and looking to the future. The New Year’s period went off relatively well and the levels of violence and disorder that are associated with celebrations in some parts of the country were not seen here. In part, this is a reflection of the good cooperation between local agencies and organisers. It’s also testament to the nature of the community we live in.
A current hot topic is our roads – you don’t have to wait too long to hear somebody talking about congestion and how long it now takes to get from A to B; but from a policing point of view, our overriding objective is safety. To this end, the highways are a major focus. We’ve been working hard to ensure that our staff are deployed at the right times to high-risk locations but still some of what they are seeing, and what is been reported to us, is eye-rolling stuff.
Please continue to report any sort of dangerous driving to us and we will do our absolute best to deal with every instance where other road users are being put at risk. You are our eyes and ears. We do ask that when reporting poor driving, keep in mind that we must prioritise, so what is inconvenient or irritating, but low-risk, might not make the cut. This doesn’t mean that we don’t understand your frustration, just that we need to send patrols to where they can do the most good.
Another significant focus is drink driving. It seems that no matter what changes there have been in society’s attitudes there are still plenty of people who are prepared to take the chance. We will keep on with enforcement, in the towns, on rural roads and at all times of the day but it’s the conversations, attitudes and lack of acceptance of this behaviour by our communities that will have the greatest effect. When you have the chance to exert influence for the better, please do so. Collectively, this will make a difference.
It might sound a little starry-eyed, but nationally, police have the mission of making New Zealand the world’s safest country. When you think about it, why wouldn’t we? To aim for anything less doesn’t make sense. In this country, we start with a lot of natural advantages, the most important of which is a strongly supportive society. Taking this a step further, at a local level we have got together have decided as a group, from the boss to the youngest constable, that we want to be the safest area within the country. Of course, we are only part of the picture and can’t achieve this on our own. The most important element is the partnership between police and community so please stay in touch, keep us in the loop and help in whatever way you feel you can in achieving our mission.
Senior Sergeant, Queenstown Police