New station – but hours the same

An artist’s impression of a proposed new police station in Cambridge. Photo: Tainui Group Holdings/Supplied

A proposed new police base in Cambridge will not be manned around the clock.

The station could be the first in the Waikato built under a partnership agreement signed between New
Zealand Police and Tainui Group Holdings last week.

Construction of the 416 square metre building at the site of an old police house at the corner of Victoria and Fort streets could start next March and be finished by February 2022.

The News could not ascertain the projected cost for the proposed new police station as this issue went to print.

Under the proposal, Tainui Group Holdings would build and own the building and the whenua, while police will invest in specific tenant fitout.

Information about the project appears on the TGH website, but it did not respond to an email from the
News.

The station in Cambridge would initially be leased to police for 20 years and could accommodate up to 18 police officers.

Commissioner of Police Andrew Coster said in a statement the partnership was “an important milestone in Police’s effort to deliver on the organisation’s objectives under Te Huringa o Te Tai strategy, specifically to improve outcomes
for Maaori, including through partnerships with Iwi.”

Parekawhia McLean, Chair of Te Whakakitenga o Waikato, the Waikato-Tainui parliament welcomed the move.

She said the partnership reflects the strong relationship between the Crown and Waikato-Tainui under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and will support the Police goals as set out in their strategy, Te Huringa o Te Tai.

In Cambridge, up until 2016, the current Dick St station was staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But the News can confirm that under Waikato police’s current policy, the proposed new station would not be.

In 2018, a near $300 million budget increase paved the way for an eventual expansion of the country’s police force by 1800 officers – 127 of those being added to the Waikato.

Two of those were in Cambridge.

Western Waikato acting area commander Inspector David Raffan told the News that increase had brought with it a “revised approach”.

“The previous population-based target of having 95 percent of New Zealanders living within 25km of a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week police base was removed.

“Police instead adopted a demand-based approach to regional deployment to best keep our provincial communities safe.”

He said this gave officers “more flexibility to deploy staff in a way that ensures officers are working when and where they are needed most, based on demand.

Inspector Raffan said police do provide a 24-hour-a-day, seven day-a-week service to the public across New Zealand, and Cambridge has a 24-hour response capacity on Friday and Saturday nights.

“New Zealand police are committed to increasing police numbers, expanding our presence and visibility, and improving policing services to our regional communities,” he said.

The proposed design for the new Cambridge station is based on a waka ama, a double-hulled canoe, and will incorporate elements reflecting the environment and community, including visual elements of significance to Waikato-Tainui and use of the region’s Hinuera stonework.

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