Refurbished cells prompt positive attitudes

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Auckland

Counties Manukau Police Station have spruced up nine of 40 holding cells in an effort to brighten up what can sometimes be a very dark place. Police hope the cells encourage people to reflect on their actions, in an environment that shows someone cares about them. 

Refurbished cells to encourage refurbished attitudes for the people who stay here.

Police district Iwi liaison officer, Sonny Wilcox says, “It lifts their spirits and encourages positive thoughts. It's good for them because it's hard for them when they get here.”

The cells are already having a positive effect on the youth who use them.

“When they go to court, they have a better mindset and a better attitude because of the art”, says Wilcox.

The Police Minister Judith Collins investigated the cells.

"I love this, 'make good choices', I love the little buzzy bee everywhere. You know obviously, people are coming in at all stages of drunk-ness, drug abuse, distress. So the best that we can do is what the police are doing which is encouraging a better environment”, says Collins.

When the Minister was asked how much money was spent on upgrading the cells, the Minister was unable to clarify but Inspector Tracey Phillips says the makeover was well overdue.

"To be fair the cells were due for an upgrade anyway they haven’t been upgraded for nine years so it was just part of our routine maintenance..."

The cells see around 16,000 detainees each year. Police say they have already seen an improvement with repeat offenders who have stayed in the new cells.

“Some who come here have no family or friends to help or care for them through the tough times.

This is one way the police can make their time here more positive. So this is one pathway”, says Wilcox.

This could be the new trend for police stations throughout the country.