CAITLIN MOORBY, Stuff.nz, May 5, 2018
Sun and safety are to blame for a failed attempt at forming a police bike patrol in Huntly. Senior Constables Winiata Leonard and Jay Ferguson started the town's first bike patrol in January.
However, the pair have only been out a half-dozen times since. "We haven't gone out as often as we wanted," Ferguson said.
"We've had issues with the heat and we're still trying to figure out how we can best utilise the bikes." "We were comfortable going out, but coming back our clothes were drenched. In summer, the senior constables were going through two and three shirts a day. "It was sweaty work." Leonard and Ferguson were given official police cycling shorts, shoes and helmets to patrol in.
But the rest of their uniform remained the same, including their operational vests. "The vests are an extra 10kgs on you and biking around, they're like a heat vest. "It wasn't a great work environment."
Safety was also an issue, Ferguson said. "It's an operational requirement to be two up in Huntly West. "We need at least two of us to bike around the area."
But only Leonard and Ferguson are equipped to be on the bikes and the pair aren't always rostered on the same shift. "There are a few things we need to work through, but it was a first-time thing for Huntly. "We will try get back out there again."
Resident Virginia McCutchan was disappointed with the lack of patrolling. "I've never seen them out here once," McCutchan said. "But that's not to say others haven't." McCutchan has lived in Huntly West for the past 13 years. "I'm in town as little as once a week and as often as three times a week. "It's often enough to notice." McCutchan hoped the patrol would get officers out and talking in the community.
"It would be great for the community and the kids to see police out here, caring enough to be on a push bike. I'd like to see them do what they say they are going to do and be more present in the community – it does no good to say they are going to do something and not do it."