New Napier police station says good bye to cells

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The brand new Napier Police has opened it's doors for the first time today but there is not a single cell to be seen.

"Our focus has been on including services for victims and witnesses and for people to come in here for help, offenders will be based now over at the Hastings custody unit," says Inspector Tania Kura.

For officers who do make arrests, it will mean driving out of the Napier area to Hastings, which is about an hour round trip.

"Well obviously there are no criminals based in Napier," says police minister Judith Collins with a laugh.

"Look we've found cells are much better to be placed in one place and it's not that far to take people who need to be in cells down to Hastings."

"Frankly if you have prisoners in cells it requires police officers, authorised officers to be with them all the time, it's a huge drain on resources so it's much better if you have them in one place," says Collins.

In the passed Labour's spokesperson for police Stuart Nash has been critical of the reduced size of the new station and the drive officers have to make to go to Hastings to charge someone.

Nash says the police are severely under-resourced and understaffed, "We absolutely need more there is no doubt about that the police are here at the moment do a fantastic job but they are stretched to breaking point."

"We have increased more than any other region in the country so about 250 crimes per week and over the country in the last 12 months it's increased by 13,000."

Collins says she has been working on a national strategy to address the issue of police under staffing for the last six months.

"It's a long process but that's because we actually want a really good outcome and we'll see what happens in that, but I'm very confident that the regions will be very well served," she says.

The new station comes with a price tag of $5.5 million and there is a second brand new station set to be built in Hastings in the future.