Business as usual – but different

Business as usual – but different

For six years Prevention First has guided our work, changing our relationships with our communities for the better and helping make New Zealand a safer place to live, work and visit.

Now our operating model has been refreshed to ensure it continues to serve the needs of New Zealanders and their Police. 

“When we launched Prevention First in 2011 it was a new way of working, placing victims at the centre of what we do and informing all our work,” says Assistant Commissioner Bill Searle.

“Police has always had a role in preventing harm in our communities but Prevention First made it our priority - and it remains our national operating model, aiming to prevent harm before it happens.

“Prevention First 2017 is about how we can build on the positive change of the past six years and mature our understanding of what ‘prevention’ is: to ensure we take every opportunity to prevent harm."

Where Prevention First placed victims at the centre of policing, the new evolution puts people more generally – victims, offenders and Police staff - at the centre.

The aim remains to prevent crime and victimisation, target and catch offenders and deliver a more responsive Police service. This has three core components:

  • Deploying to beat demand
  • Targeting the drivers of demand
  • Mindset: taking every opportunity to prevent harm.

Instead of five drivers of crime, we now address six drivers of demand - recognising that police respond to more than crime. To this end, ‘mental health’ has been added to the original five – alcohol; youth/rangatahi; families/whānau; roads; and organised crime and drugs.

Meaningful partnerships – with partner agencies, iwi and others - will be vital, as shown by collaborative family harm initiatives such as Whāngaia Nga Pa Harakeke and the Integrated Safety Response

The new Deployment Model ensures frontline staff are best equipped to have the greatest impact on these drivers.

Posters are being sent to districts, and district visits are being planned to help embed Prevention First 2017, the updated Deployment Model and Our Business.

“The one vital takeaway from Prevention First 2017 is to remember that prevention is taking every opportunity to prevent harm,” says Bill.

“We need all Police staff to ‘think prevention’ during every contact. By ensuring this mindset is at the forefront of everything we do, we will deliver on the intent of ‘Our Business’ - making New Zealand the safest country in the world, where we can all ‘Be Safe and Feel Safe’.”

Frontline officer Sergeant Loretta Hunt-Tevaga, of Wellington, says: "I really like the new tagline: taking every opportunity to prevent harm.

"This has real meaning to me because it's what we do every day... It's about all the incidents we deal with and looking at them in a different light."