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Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Tasman region is the first to benefit from Police decommissioning its old fleet of mobile road safety bases.

The district health board, Nelson Marlborough Health, is making good use of the Police district’s old base as a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Currently the former MRSB is acting as a mobile vaccination hub as part of the Nelson Marlborough Health COVID response but plans for the vehicle go well beyond that according to Nelson Marlborough Health’s Emergency Manager, Pete Kara.

“We’re excited about the enhanced health services we can provide with this mobile hub. To get something similar off the ground on our own would have been months in the making. It’s great that we’ve had the opportunity to keep this asset in our community and it’s one of the many benefits of having a close working relationship with Police in Tasman,” Kara says.

Assistant Commissioner Bruce O’Brien, Deployment & Road Policing, says as part of the decommissioning, Police are looking for ways to see how our ‘no longer fit-for-purpose’ old bases could be repurposed to help support communities, and the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out had provided an immediate opportunity.

“This initiative absolutely aligns with our priority of focused prevention through partnerships,” A/C O’Brien says. “We are also gifting the old bases enabling partner agencies to redirect funds towards other community initiatives that would have been used to secure a mobile asset.”

Nelson Marlborough Health has plans to eventually convert the base into a mobile treatment facility, with a refit that will include an examination bed to be used for minor procedures ensuring those in the region’s remote areas can still receive the care they need.

Discussions are underway for further vehicles to be repurposed, with similar arrangements to the Tasman initiative, A/C O’Brien says.

Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha, Iwi and Communities says “these include a base being gifted to Ngāi Tūhoe for a multi-purpose health mobile unit to provide medical and dental checks, and vaccinations to people in remote areas of their rohe. Another base may be gifted as a mobile driver licence learning centre for a youth-focused community group in Waitomo.

“This is a great opportunity for community organisations to give a new life to a significant resource that otherwise would have likely been scrapped or sold to a private entity.

“This is also a really great example of what can be done when you open your mind to operating differently and operating in a more culturally attuned way with our Treaty partners. We believe repurposing these bases will benefit Māori-Crown relationships and strengthen how we can all care for each other,” says D/C Haumaha.

All of the mobile road safety bases being repurposed have undergone inspection to ensure they are safe for their next life.

Bases from the old fleet are able to be offered because Police has introduced 28 new purpose-built vehicles – six Isuzu trucks and 22 VW Crafter vans – that will allow evidential breath testing to be processed at the roadside.

Most of these new vehicles have already been delivered and deployed to Police districts throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and don’t require an HT licence to drive, so they are easier for all police staff to use. 

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

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