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New Centre changes how NZ Police connects with public

The way Police connects with the public and the way they work to make the communities safe will be transformed with the opening of a new digital services and communications centre on Kapiti Coast.

According to a recent report, Police Minister Stuart Nash has officially opened the Police Digital Services Centre, Te Whare Torotoro Waea Pirihama in Paraparaumu.

The new digital services and communications centre, which will eventually house over 200 staff, is much more than just a major new Police building.

The specialist services made possible by this new facility signal a transformation in the way Police connect with the public.

Along with the unprecedented investment in frontline Police numbers in this year’s Budget, additional funding is provided to modernise tools and resources.

New channels in which the public can connect with the Police are being offered.

The Police launched a trial this week, wherein the people can go online to make a report through the Police website for the first time.

Up until this launch, the only possible way to make a report was through a phone call, a visit to a local station, or a Police visit to their property.

The online crime reports cover all the questions a Police officer would ask and will be managed by a dedicated digital team at the Kapiti centre.

Police will monitor feedback on the online trial and make improvements if necessary.

The trial will initially focus on lost property and property damage such as vandalism, which accounts for over 78,000 reports to Police each year.

Online reporting will not only make it easier to report a crime or other issues, it could also reduce inappropriate use of channels such as the emergency 111 number.

A single non-emergency number is being worked on by the Police in order to lessen the inappropriate use of the 111 service.

The target for this non-emergency number is to go live in 2019.

Moreover, a virtual service point is being piloted where a digital portal enables connection between the public and a Police staff member.

Of 150 front counters that were closed due to health and safety or accessibility problems, 82 have been refurbished and reopened and upgrades are underway to the remaining 68 sites.

The Coalition Agreement with New Zealand First commits the government to strive for 1800 extra Police over three years.

Frontline Police numbers have grown by around 450 above the June 2017 baseline, through a combination of strong Police recruitment, deployment of 941 new constables, and low attrition.

More work needs to be done in order to lift Police numbers and improve public services, but progress is being made as safer and more connected communities are being built.

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