National MP, David Bennett receives petition with 1000 signatures
By: Gurbir Singh
A Parliamentary petition with a 1000 signatures of local community seeking reopening of Flagstaff Community Police Station was formally presented today to the National MP for Hamilton East, David Bennett to lodge at Parliament by the local East Ward City Councillor, James Casson.
Casson, who is also a former Police sergeant and was at one time the officer in charge of the Flagstaff Community Police Station, started this petition on 8 July this year.
The petition was a result of the crime surge in north east of Hamilton city with a steady increase in such incidents during that period.
NewsViews was also instrumental in raising the issue of rise in crime that evoked a positive response from the Police. Read our earlier coverage here:
Community raised a hue and cry on social media expressing an urgent need for re-opening of the Flagstaff community Police station to help deter crime and apprehend offenders. It was felt that a regular Police presence in the northern suburbs will lead to a decrease in crime.
The Petition submitted today requests that the House of Representatives urge the Police to re-open the Flagstaff Community Police Station in Hamilton as a trial, with general-duties policing units working from the station on each policing shift and a public counter open from 8am to 4pm on weekdays for the public to report concerns and incidents.
Talking to NewsViews at the Flagstaff shopping complex where the Petition was presented, David Bennett agreed that “the community has had very strong concerns regarding the high amount of criminal activity in the Rototuna-Flagstaff area. This has led to a push for a greater Police presence in the area.”
He acknowledged the efforts of James Casson and Ash owner of the Flagstaff’s SuperValue who was a victim of break-in twice, in garnering the community to sign the petition. Ash is still not fully recovered from the injuries he suffered.
“The petition is something that Ash and James have worked hard to ensure the community has had their say on the Police presence,” Bennett said
“Thank you to all those who have supported the petition and I look forward to presenting it in Wellington to continue the focus on the need for a greater Police presence in the community”, the National MP, David Bennett added.
Casson told NewsViews that he wanted to “hold the Labour government accountable, as it was the Police Minister Stuart Nash’s pre-election promise that community police stations would be reopened at the end of its first term.”
James Casson who was also responsible for getting CitySafe patrols extended to suburbs says “Police will be starting soon a mobile crime prevention truck to be stationed by rotation in different shopping centres of suburbs.”
“These mobile police bases would be a new form of community policing but would not be enough “, he added.
Both Casson and Ash are hoping that this petition will yield the desired outcome and the community police stations will re-open.