Dave Mullan of Red Beach is a keen volunteer with the Hibiscus Coast Community Patrol. Although he is in his eighties and has advanced prostate cancer, he continues this work, believing it provides a valuable service to other residents.
The patrol acts as extra eyes and ears for the police, driving around the Dairy Flat to Puhoi and Red Beach to Waitoki areas and reporting potential issues to police. Dave explains how and why he got involved:
“During my working life as a Methodist minister I was heavily involved in all kinds of social and community service. Those concerns also shaped my life in 20 years of retirement.
About 10 years ago, when I was living in the Bay of Islands, the community was experiencing a fairly high level of petty crime. There were a lot of thefts in tourist car parks but also three or four very serious attacks on individuals. Part of the problem was that there were too many after-midnight liquor outlets and eventually the most irresponsible proprietors lost their licences. We locals were also challenged to do something about the situation and the formation of a Community Patrol was one outcome.
Within a month of the patrol starting, there was a dramatic drop in car park incidents.
Over the next few years my wife Bev and I, who usually patrolled together, were involved in quite a few incidents, one or two at the direct request of the Police who did not have resources immediately to hand. One incident got quite confrontational as neighbours on both sides of a road safety issue weighed in and had their say. But most of the time our daytime patrols were routine. We “showed the flag” and helped businesses and the general public to become aware of the patrol and its contribution to their own safety and security.
Three years ago my developing cancer dictated the move to Red Beach where we have family support. I was determined that somewhere in my new life there must be some opportunity to try to make a difference in my community. The local patrol was an easy decision.
I avoid most night shifts but usually do one or two day shifts a month. Yes, it’s sometimes boring, but always very satisfying. The strong affirmation and support of the local and regional Police staff is always an encouragement. I believe the patrol contributes greatly to the security and safety of our Hibiscus Coast communities.
My medical future remains uncertain. But new drugs seem to be causing the cancer to take a less aggressive course than we were led to expect three years ago. I’m not planning to drop off the Community Patrol roster yet!”
The community patrol is always looking for volunteers. Info: phone 022 012 9526 or visit hbccommunitypatrol.org