Combined effort best for region
With Easter fast approaching, Emergency Coordination Centre group controller Dave Wilson says people can expect to see a bigger Police presence on our roads.
“If you are out and about on our roads, you can expect to be stopped and asked about where you are headed,” says Mr Wilson.
“We’ve been working with police to best utilise the resources that we have available to them also making sure that we manage our priority areas such as serious crime and harm cases.
“While there have been calls for roadblocks on our State Highways, this is an unrealistic request given police resourcing and our focus.”
Mr Wilson said during these checks information would be gathered that would help develop a better understanding of community movements and the resourcing needed to support that.
Late last month local leaders, led by Mayor Rehette Stoltz, petitioned Government for the deployment of both personnel and other resources to support regional measures to contain COVID-19 with a particular focus on protecting the vulnerable, and this week iwi leaders again petitioned Government.
"Our region needs to be as safe as possible for our communities, and every effort is being made to ensure this,” says Mr Wilson.
The increased Police presence on local roads over Easter is another step towards pulling together as much information as possible around the wider needs of Tairāwhiti during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown.
Tairāwhiti area commander inspector Sam Aberahama says their primary focus will be reminding people if they don’t need to travel, then please don’t.
“It is simple. Travelling to and from different towns and cities risks spreading COVID-19 and puts lives at risk. Travelling to the bach for a holiday is not essential travel and is not permitted.”
Police’s first step will be to educate but if people continue to break the rules, they will use their discretion to warn people or, if necessary, they could be arrested.
“We are asking everyone to play their part this Easter,” he says.
“Stick to the rules and stay home within your bubble – keep yourselves and your communities safe.”
The push to protect the region by gathering information is a joint effort between Gisborne District Council’s Emergency Coordination Centre, Tairāwhiti District Health and the Police, and seeks to prioritise what is needed and where.
Tairāwhiti still has just a single positive case of COVID-19 and locals are continually reminded to cease all non-essential travel.