Monday, 8 April 2024 - 11:44am

Stronger working together

2 min read

News article photos (1 items)

Phil with local Palmerston North Neighbourhood Support volunteers at the Hokowhitu Farmers Market where they had a stall setup f

Partnerships are key to safer communities and Senior Constable Phil Robinson knows first-hand the importance that the Police Liaison Officer (PLO) role plays in this.

Phil, who works in the Manawatū Community team and looks after Ashhurst and Massey University, wears multiple hats including the one of Police Liaison for Palmerston North Neighbourhood Support.

He’s no stranger to the role having been a PLO for around three years as well as having previous PLO experience in other roles. While some of his key responsibilities as PLO include attending monthly board meetings, it’s the reach of the role and the impact it has that goes far beyond that.

“In my role as a PLO I attend many Neighbourhood Support events such as inductions for new groups and community activities such as street BBQs and tool engraving events,” says Phil.

“I also work closely with the Palmerston North Neighbourhood Support Manager Alison Jarden and provide information or advice where needed regarding crime prevention, along with helping answer questions that she receives from the community.”

Street BBQs are one of the many ways Police and Neighbourhood Support work together to engage with the community. 
Street BBQs are one of the many ways Police and Neighbourhood Support work together to engage with the community.

As well as building positive partnerships, being a PLO is about getting ahead of crime and helping prevent crimes happening in the first place.

“I enjoy working with Neighbourhood Support as it’s about trying to help the community before they become victims of crime, rather than being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff,” says Phil.

“We try to catch people before they fall, with advice to improve security, while also helping provide resilience in the communities through positive engagement with their neighbours, hopefully increasing a person’s feelings of safety in their home and neighbourhood.

“One of the most rewarding things about being a PLO is that 99 per cent of our engagement with the community is positive.”

Partners of New Zealand Police play a significant role in supporting us, including engaging with members of our communities who don’t want to engage with us.  

“Our relationships with our NGOs are very important as they can often get into and assist in places where the community does not want to be seen to be involved with Police,” says Phil.

“This could be for a variety of reasons such as fear of Police or not wanting other members of the community to see them involved with Police.

“Sometimes it’s even because people feel that they don’t want to bother us with something they consider as minor.

“A good NGO can get in where needed and fill the gaps where required.”

Alison has been in her Neighbourhood Support role for several years and has nothing but praise for Phil’s efforts and work.

“Phil supports me by attending the initial meeting of new Neighbourhood Support groups, letting people know the importance of connected neighbours and giving security advice as well as presentations on Crime Prevention, to name a few things,” she says.

“He also highlights the importance of reporting crime, regardless of how trivial it may seem.

“We are very fortunate to have such a great PLO, especially as he has done the role over many years so he is very aware of the importance and value of Neighbourhood Support in helping make our community safer, more connected and resilient.”