by Greta Yeoman
New staff have enabled the Temuka police station to return to standard opening hours.
Nichola Manukau has been appointed as the station support officer, allowing the Domain Ave station to reopen its doors to the public.
This follows more than a year of concerns held by residents and the Temuka Community Board about the times the station was closed.
Health and safety rules meant a sworn police officer was required to be in a station when it was open, which had proved difficult for the Temuka staff until now.
However, Ms Manukau had been appointed in late September and would man the station from 8.30am to 4.30pm on weekdays.
Acting officer in charge Sergeant Greg Sutherland, who was standing in for Sergeant Mike van der Heyden for a few weeks, said Ms Manukau’s appointment would make a “big difference” for both residents and the policing staff.
She would be taking more calls and filing information, which would ease the pressure on Sgt van der Heyden, Sgt Sutherland said.
“[It will be] good core policing work.”
Ms Manukau has moved from Whangarei for the role, after starting out in the Counties Manukau office in Auckland, which was one of the busiest in the country.
She was enjoying the South Canterbury life and the scenic views in the area.
“It’s just awesome.”
Her first visit to the South Island had been when she came south for the job interview at the Temuka station, where she met the team and decided the role was definitely for her.
She said the supportive team of officers across the six South Canterbury stations made a real difference to a work environment, which was a benefit of working rurally.
“It’s a fantastic crew.”
While phone calls would still be directed to the main crime reporting line, which was the same for all other stations around the country, the Temuka station will now be open from 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Temuka Community Board chairman Paddy O’Reilly was pleased about the change as the board had been raising it as an issue for more than a year.
“It’s great the station is open.”
He said residents would now be able to wander into the station to report any concerns they had, which would provide more security for the community and more information for the police.