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Crime line aims to boost response

By HANNAH NORTON - Manukau Courier
Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Calling the police just got a lot less frustrating.

A new crime reporting line is aimed at improving customer service and providing better police intelligence, says senior sergeant Bronwyn Marshall.

The service was launched last month to streamline the Counties Manukau police response to crime.

Non-urgent calls to Counties Manukau police stations will be transferred to the line, reducing pressure on the emergency 111 system and the need for people to go to police stations in person to make a report.

"It takes a lot of the day-to-day frustrations away from the public," Ms Marshall says.

Trained staff will take detailed reports over the crime line, enter them into the system and assign them a file number.

A letter of acknowledgement is then posted or emailed to the complainant and they might be directed to Victim Support.

The information is then sent to the file management department based in the new Manukau police station.

Counties Manukau is the only district that has an investigation support unit, headed by senior sergeant Aaron Proctor.

It works alongside file management staff and follows up reports by collecting evidence such as witness statements and security images and tries to catch offenders.

Complainants will be kept informed during the whole process, Mr Proctor says.

"Itís about improving customer service. Counties Manukau is a very busy police district."

Data collected will also give police a better crime picture to help with hotspot areas, he says.

"Current data leads to better analysis and better decision-making."

Non-urgent crimes include stolen cars, burglaries, thefts from cars, general thefts, lost property and wilful damage Ė "things that donít require immediate police attention", Ms Marshall says.

If thereís any danger to life or property at the time of the call people still need to call 111.

"If thereís a burglar in your house call 111. But if youíve been burgled you need to report whatís happened," she says.

And people still need to report at the police station if there has been a crime against a person.

One point the officers highlight is the need to record serial numbers. They say a lot of stolen property goes unclaimed every year because owners canít prove they legitimately own it.

Crime prevention advice is available at www.police.govt.nz.

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/4842070a22376.html

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