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Police kiosks may stay closed

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/06/2016

Police community kiosks up and down the country remain closed and Police Commissioner Mike Bush doesn't know when - or if - they'll reopen.

Following a review of station security, police announced in mid-April that some kiosks - which are often staffed solely by volunteers - would be closed pending the completion of a more comprehensive safety and security audit.

Fronting up to parliament's law and order select committee on Wednesday, Mr Bush said it was his preference to reopen them.

However, he said it was too early to say when that might happen.

"It's just how we make it happen and keep people safe at the same time," he said.

Police Minister Judith Collins said she would like to reopen kiosks where possible, but those decisions were an operational matter for Mr Bush.

"If anything goes wrong in those stations or those kiosks, he's the one who's responsible under the health and safety legislation, not me," she told reporters.

NZ Newswire requested information from police about how many kiosks there are around the country and how many are closed, but they were unable to provide an immediate response.

Meanwhile, the station security review also prompted police to implement a new policy which means stations aren't open to the public unless there's a sworn officer present.

Labour MP Phil Goff questioned this, saying MPs' electorate offices are open despite the fact they don't have a uniformed police officer on staff.

"We get exactly the same sort of people who come through to police - the mentally ill, the angry and the frustrated," he said.

"Why is it less safe for a civilian in a police station to be confronted with these people than it for members of your electorate staff?"

Mr Bush defended the steps he's taken.

"I do take my obligations under the Health and Safety Act very seriously," he said.

"That's the decision I've made to keep the people that work for us, whether they're in paid employment or volunteers, safe until I can ensure we've got a model that continues to keep them safe."

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