Beating the language barrier20 October 2006
By HEATHER McCRACKENPolice volunteer Daniel Chan can see the relief when he greets Chinese people at Howick station.
"You can read it on their face when they come in and find there is an Asian person standing at the counter," he says.
Mr Chan has helped at Howick police for more than two years, helping both Chinese Aucklanders and members of the wider community.
He's one of three Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking volunteers working in Counties Manukau east.
"It's good because I get the chance to do something for the community and also I get the chance to brush up my English," Mr Chan says.
Eastern police are encouraging the Chinese community to make use of the volunteers to report crime or ask for assistance.
Senior sergeant Andrew Berry says language can be a barrier to approaching police or finding out about services like Neighbourhood Support.
"Whether it's taking a statement, filling out a form, or coming to see a police officer, it's all about breaking down that first barrier," he says.
Police are also looking for a Korean speaker to volunteer each week. They would need to commit to a regular time, and be police vetted.
Cantonese and Mandarin speakers are available at Howick police station all day Thursday and Friday afternoons and in Otara on Tuesday from 10am to 2pm.
To find out more about volunteering, phone: 272-0900.