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July Community Champion celebrated!

Senior Sergeant Steven Smith - NZ Police

Each month we celebrate a different champion – someone who works with their local community and supports and promotes Neighbourhood Support.


July's champion is Blair Wilkinson, a Prevention Sergeant with the New Zealand Police in Waitaki, Southern District. 🎉 🙌


We asked him a few questions about his involvement with Neighbourhood Support:

How long have you been involved with / been a champion of Neighbourhood Support?


Neighbourhood Support was re-vitalised in Oamaru in July 2022, which involved the appointment of the current coordinator Christine Dorsey.  I have been involved since then.


How do you engage with and promote Neighbourhood Support Locally?


I am a member of the Otago Neighbourhood Support board, beyond that I encourage the staff in my station and the surrounding sole charge station to connect with Neighbourhood Support wherever possible, ensure that we are communicating to the coordinator any current and emerging patterns of offending and sharing any prevention strategies that we can identify that will reduce of members of our community being the victims of crime.  We recently had our coordinator come and speak to all the Waitaki Police staff at a training day which has already led to an increase in her work load.


What motivates you to work alongside our organisation?


Being effective in my role is entirely dependent on strong community connections, and being able to work alongside Neighbourhood Support certainly contributes to that.  I think often people will see stories in the paper or on the news and perceive themselves to be at far greater risk of harm from strangers than is actually the reality.  Being able to communicate to the community through Neighbourhood Support practical things they can do to enhance their safety without letting fear of victimisation reduce their quality of life aligns very closely with the NZ Police purpose of ensuring everybody can be safe and feel safe. 


What aspects of community networking have you seen Neighbourhood Support work really well?


In addition to the excellent work being done by our Coordinator to her make herself available to the community and the extremely rapid uptake of new groups forming around North Otago, I really like that Neighbourhood Support forms a platform for neighbours to connect with each other, and gives people an opportunity provide help where it is needed.  My observation is the willingness to help out ones neighbours is generally very high, it just takes someone to start the conversation and people being prepared to let others know when they could use some assistance.  In terms of building community resilience this is very important work.    


What would you tell your colleagues about Neighbourhood Support?


Be aware of who Neighbourhood Support are and what they do.  When you are looking at crime prevention opportunities or things you can do help a victim of crime connection with Neighbourhood Support will always be worth considering.  When the public see us partnering with Neighbourhood Support it is great way for us to demonstrate our commitment to our mission of preventing crime and harm.  Having Neighbourhood Support as part of your community is definitely going to help prevent crime and we should be doing whatever we can to assist Neighbourhood Support operate.  


About Neighbourhood Support New Zealand

Neighbourhood Support is a nationwide community led movement that brings people and neighbourhoods together to create safe, resilient, and connected communities. Over 220,000 households are part of our growing network. Neighbourhood Support work alongside NZ Police and other partners to equip neighbourhoods to improve safety, be prepared for emergencies and support one another so that our communities are great places to live.

Address (appointment only)

C/O Police National Headquarters

180 Molesworth Street

Thorndon, Wellington, 6011

New Zealand

Phone - 0800 4 NEIGHBOURS (0800 463 444)

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