Oamaru’s top police officer is echoing the words of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and urging residents to “be kind”.
Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy, of Oamaru, said police had continued to attend family harm incidents in the first week of the lockdown.
It was too early to tell if there had been a noticeable increase in the amount of incidents, but it was a focus for police as people were spending more time at home, he said.
“We are certainly going to family harm incidents still, and on a regular basis,” Snr Sgt McCoy said.
“Jacinda’s catch cry ‘be kind’ – we need to make sure that phrase is being taken into our home environments while we are there.
“We are in the bubble and we can sometimes have enough of the people in the bubble, but we need to be kind and tolerate them.”
People should get outside, as long as they were following the Government’s recommendations, he said.
“People need time to themselves and fresh air is good.
“As long as you stay within your bubble and close to your house, absolutely [go outside].
“We don’t want people walking around the district or the town — walk around your section or your block, but don’t go too far away.”
Residents in the Waitaki district had been overall “very good” at following the guidelines of the Government’s lockdown, he said.
Women’s Refuge New Zealand chief executive Dr Ang Jury said the organisation had noticed a slight increase in reports of family harm, but was expecting things to get worse as it went on.
Her advice to victims of family harm was to prioritise their safety.
“If you feel unsafe, leave the house, lockdown or not.
“Go outside and call the police.”