Alexandra’s rural community patrol car is proving a success across parts of Central Otago.
A team of volunteers have been using the vehicle to monitor the Alexandra-Clyde-Omakau area for about nine months.
Since then, police had noticed people were becoming more safety conscious.
Sergeant Derek Ealson, of Alexandra, said the work of the volunteers who managed the patrol was “hugely” appreciated by the police.
“It’s our eyes and ears for us, keeping our community safe and feeling safe as well.”
He said there was a growing number of people making sure their property and belongings were secured, which he attributed to the work of the community patrol.
“It’s a partnership and police are hugely appreciative of their commitment in our community,” he said, of those behind the project.
The community patrol and its volunteers complete the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes circuit, working alongside existing community patrols in Cromwell, Wanaka and Queenstown.
Volunteer Steve Pyne said the concept was working well.
“All we are doing is patrolling around, trying to keep an eye on things, trying to report things that aren’t where they should be – that sort of thing.
“There’s just the odd wee thing now and again – it might be someone lying unconscious on the road – which we’ve had.”
Mr Pyne is one of 12 volunteers who help operate the service.
Volunteers take turns each Friday and Saturday night, but a further four to eight helpers were needed, he said.
“We definitely need more people.
“Ideally, we’d like to go out once a month, which would mean we’d need 16 people, but we’ve only got 12.”
He encouraged anyone of any age to consider assisting.
The Alexandra patrol was under the umbrella of Community Patrols New Zealand, which was formed in 2001 and supported more than 5000 volunteers in 150 affiliated community patrols.
The Central Lakes Trust funded the Alexandra patrol’s vehicle, with assistance from Aspiring Motors, which sold the group the car.
The service is expected to cost about $6000 for the year, including petrol and maintenance.