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New comms centre improves public services

A new digital services and communications centre opened on the Kapiti Coast will help transform the way Police connect with the public and work to make communities safe.

Police Minister Stuart Nash has officially opened the Police Digital Services Centre, Te Whare Torotoro Waea Pirihama in Paraparaumu. It will eventually house over 200 staff.

“The new digital services and communications centre is much more than just a major new Police building,” said Mr Nash. “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, we provided additional funding to modernise tools and resources. We are offering new channels through which the public can connect with Police.

“This week Police launched a trial where for the first time, people can go online to make a report via the Police website. Till now this was only possible through a phone call or 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 needed. 

“The trial will initially focus on lost property and property damage such as vandalism, which account 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.

“Police are working on a single non-emergency number to minimise inappropriate use of the 111 service. This is planned to go live in 2019. A virtual service point is being piloted where a digital portal connects the public to 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 our June 2017 baseline, through a combination of strong Police recruitment, deployment of 941 new constables, and low attrition. We have more work to do to lift Police numbers and improve public services, but we are making good progress as we build safer and more connected communities,” Mr Nash said.