Invercargill mulls electing a sheriff
By EVAN HARDING - The Southland Times | Friday, 14 November 2008

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt has been in talks with independent security advisers as he explores the possibility of a sheriff and marshalls patrolling the city streets.

Shadbolt said he was also getting reports on similar community policing initiatives from overseas.

"With violent crime increasing as dramatically as it is the community feels something has to be done," Shadbolt said.

He said he envisaged a community organisation which did its own policing. A police chief would be voted into power by the people on his policies, and voted out if he did not deliver. Criminals would be fined, which would fund the scheme.

The National Party and the Police Association oppose the proposal.

Stuart Mills, the vice-president of the New Zealand Police Association, said policing should be done by police and politics should not come into it.

Shadbolt said he hoped the National-led government would be receptive to the idea. But National Party police spokesman Chester Burrows said it did not think electing sheriffs was the way to go.

"We believe the New Zealand police are the body charged with dealing with law and order and they should meet public expectation. We are happy to talk to Mayor Tim about how the New Zealand police can best meet his concerns in Invercargill."

Shadbolt said he still wanted "normal police doing a great job", but believed they should focuson the big issues such as organised crime and drug distribution networks.

From here.