Volunteer needs for town safety

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Ashburton Town Watch chairman John Verheul is keen to hear from volunteers keen to help make the community safer.

Ashburton Town Watch Society is looking for more volunteers willing to help make the community safer.

The society is affiliated to Community Patrols of New Zealand (CPNZ) and has operated a community patrol in Ashburton for 36 years.

It was set up in 1985 by members of the local CB and 4-wheel drive clubs following concerns of an increase in violent offences being committed, and wilful damage being done to businesses and residential areas of town. The goal was to work towards a safer community through trained volunteer support for police and local authorities.

Town Watch chairman John Verheul said having active trained patrollers present at night prevented crime and reduced harm throughout the Ashburton District.

CPNZ aims to provide a New Zealand where everyone feels safe and therefore our volunteers work closely with police as extra “eyes and ears” through intelligence and observation.

It helps to assist police and other agencies build safer communities.

‘‘We cater to the needs of our local community, patrolling where and when best supports the local police and local community,’’ John said.

‘‘Community patrols are independent from the police but receive regular police guidance, training and tasking.

Patrols usually begin on weekends at around 9.00pm and continue through until approximately 2am, depending on how busy the town is and what specific tasks watch crews are asked to do by police.

‘‘If there are any unsavoury people lurking about, windows broken or an alarm activated, we are often the first on the scene to protect property until police or security firm arrives,’’ John said.

‘‘We travel around 6000 – 8000km per year with an average of 90km being travelled per shift.’’

If you wish to join, please email ashburton.cpnz@nullgmail.com or leave your details for Town Watch at the Ashburton Police station.