Saturday, April 4, 2009
Last night Bev and I went out in the Community Patrol Car, a flash Primera wagon with fire-engine red paint and luminous white signage proclaiming our special role in the Paihia community.
At 8.30pm we dialled up Police Communications, logged on and then drove around town for three hours or so. This shift is not terribly exciting as the serious stuff happens after 3am when the last bars close. That's when, a few days ago, a young chef, father of three was walking home after going off duty and was beaten up with a rock, stripped and left for dead - for the sake of his wallet.
So volunteers of our CP group try to have the car out there, visible, in the earlier part of the evening a couple of nights a week. Our presence on the streets enables the Police to reserve their resources for the hours after midnight. Last night, we logged a few cars in strange places, noted a lot of cyclists without lights, made a couple of calls and generally toured the car all round the car parks and other shady spots in the region.
Usually we see a Police patrol or call into the station office and say Hullo. They appreciate our contribution and we move on feeling useful and important. But last night, we saw only one Police car and there was no one in the station office any time we went by. However, on the way home we saw an officer standing in the street so we pulled up to say Hullo and have a bit of a chat.
He wasn’t at all surprised we stopped. Didn’t read our snazzy signage. Didn’t notice who we were. Breathalysed me and waved us on.
Oh, well, we all need to be kept humble, don't we?