Fewer police, fewer prisoners

11/01/2021

Labour’s promise to give us more police is on hold:

The Government has lived up to its soft-on-crime reputation by pushing pause on its plans to increase police numbers by 1800, National’s Police spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

In 2017, Labour promised to grow the Police’s ranks by 1800 over three years, but it never got close. Instead, it tried to fool the public by claiming its promise never included attrition. Former Police Minister Stuart Nash shifted the goalposts last year, saying the net increase of 1800 officers wouldn’t actually happen until 2021.

Now it’s been revealed that police stopped training because they got ahead of their five-year budget, according to the Police Association. The 1800 target is unlikely to be met until 2023.

“It is disappointing to learn that Police have deferred all upcoming intakes until at least May because it feels there is now ‘less of a need for recruits’,” Mr Brown says.

Less need? That’s not what the crime statistics show.

“There were more than 270,000 victims of crime in the year ending October 2020. I don’t think they would agree there is less need for police officers out on the beat.

A six-month drought of new cops hitting the streets doesn’t make sense when there has been a 13 per cent increase in gang membership over the past year and we have seen an increasing amount of gang and gun violence on our streets, Mr Brown says.

“Many of these promised new police officers were meant to be focussed on organised crime and drugs.

“This is yet another broken promise from the Labour Government, which shows it is not fully committed to stamping out crime and keeping New Zealand’s communities safe.

“National is committed to keeping New Zealanders safe and giving Police the resources they need. We will grow police numbers and increase the allocation of officers to rural areas, including expanding one-person police stations to two-person police stations.”

Remember that Labour not only pledged to increase police numbers, it also wanted to reduce the number of people in prison?

Could it be the delay in increasing police recruits is a cunning plan to reduce the prison population? No, not deliberately but that will be a consequence.

After all if there are fewer police there will almost certainly be more crime that isn’t solved and therefore fewer prisoners.

 


Police plot to unseat govt?

02/09/2020

Why would police suddenly come out with a policy of zero tolerance on speeding a few weeks before the election?

Could it be part of a plot to unseat the government?

Might it have come from something like this?

Act 1, Scene 1: A meeting room at Police HQ.

Officer 1: The weekend’s protest wasn’t a good look for us. How can we uphold the law when we’re told they’re breaking the law but we’re to educate rather than prosecute?

Officer 2:  What else could our people on the beat do? They couldn’t do anything about the Black Lives Matter marches when the whole country was in lock down, so how could they do anything about this one?

Officer 3: Yeah well, there’s a pattern isn’t there? The Iwi road blocks that weren’t authorised but were sort of okayed, the gang tangi that broke the lockdown rules but we couldn’t touch them, even when they blocked the intersections. It all makes us look ineffective and undermines our authority.

Officer 1: What could we do? We had our orders. Not a good look though.

Officer 2: It’s not going to get any better if the polls are right and Labour win outright or close to it.

Officer 3: It’d be worse.

Officer 4:  But would the other lot be any better?

Officer 2: Well yeah, think about it, who was the best Police Minister we’ve had in recent times?

Office 1: Don’t have to think about it. Judith Collins, she valued and supported us.

Officer 2: Got it in one. And if she was Prime Minister, don’t ya think she’d keep doing that?

Officer 3: Yeah, of course. But we’ve only got four votes and look at the polls.

Officer 1: There’s only one poll that counts.

Officer 4: Now you’re sounding like a politician.

Officer 1: And thinking like one, how about if we gave the polls a nudge?

Officer 3: How could we do that?

Officer 1: Policy. That’s what the pollies do when they want some attention. Release some policy.

Officer 2: But we’re not politicians and we’re supposed to be non-partisan. How can we release election policy?

Officer 1: I’m not talking election policy, I’m talking our own policy. What about changing the speed tolerance from 10 Ks to 0. One K over the limit and we stop ’em and ticket ’em.

Officer 3: That won’t be popular.

Officer 4:  It’ll be very unpopular. Why do it? Will it make the roads safer?

Officer 1: Of course not. I can already hear that Clive Matthew Wilson road safety bloke say:  this zero tolerance approach would pointlessly alienate ordinary motorists without solving the real problem. “The current police anti-speeding campaign will never lower the road toll, because it’s targeting the average motorist rather than the high-risk groups. “That’s like trying to stop bank robberies by targeting shoplifting.”

Officer 4: And he’d be right, wouldn’t he? It will get right up the noses of the ordinary driver who creeps a few kilometres over the limit going down a hill or on one of those long, straight stretches where there’s no other cars except one of ours hidden under a tree.

Officer 3: What about overtaking? No passing lane would be long enough to let anyone pass the slightly slower drivers at 100 k. We start ticketing people going a wee bit faster when they’re passing and they’re going to lecturing us about time exposed to danger, and what’s safer: crawling past a truck on the wrong side of the road or zipping past and getting back to the right side, which is of course the left, as soon as possible?

Officer 2: There will be an uproar.

Officer 1: That’s right, and who will they blame?

Officer 2: Us?

Officer 1:  Well yes, but also the government.  The public’ll be furious and it won’t just be individuals. It won’t take long for the Taxpayers’ Union to call it a cash grab. I can see the media release already :

Did you see the news break yesterday that the Police are abolishing their 10km/h speed tolerance nationwide?

That means that from today Police will be issuing fines for going as little as 101km/h on the open road – even when passing another vehicle!

This Government has put up fuel taxes every year, and introduced the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax.  Now they’re using the Police as tax collectors.

Click here to sign our petition against this nasty revenue grab.

Road safety advocates have labelled the move as “petty, vindictive and ineffective”.  Deliberate speeding is one thing.  But unintentional speeding where it’s a few kms over, such as when a driver is not fixated on the speedo, should not be fined.  Crashes caused by speeding are seldom due to a driver doing one or two kms over the limit.

This new policy that will see thousands of New Zealanders fined for going only one or two kms over the posted limit – even while passing another vehicle. . . 

Officer 4: Ya know I think it might just about work.

Officer 1: It will and we’ve no time to waste. At least one polling company will be taking the political pulse of the nation as we speak.

Officer 2:  It won’t just be the government that takes a hit. We’re going to be pretty unpopular while it’s going on.

Officer 1: We all have to make sacrifices at times, and a wee bit of temporary unpopularity is a small price to pay for a government that supports the police and helps us do our work.

This is all too fanciful, but can anyone think of a better explanation for a policy that will be so very unpopular and do absolutely nothing for road safety?


Officer down

19/06/2020

A police officer has been killed while on duty:

Statement from Commissioner Andrew Coster 

It is with a heavy heart that I confirm that one of our colleagues injured in the incident in Massey, West Auckland, today has died.

This is devastating news and absolutely the worst thing for us to deal with. We have lost a colleague and friend in our Police whānau.

Our thoughts are with the officer’s family and loved ones, and with the other officer and member of the public who were injured in the same incident and their loved ones.

From the information we have this was a routine traffic stop and is the type of work our officers do every day to keep the public safe. At this stage there is nothing to indicate that the job was going to be anything out of the ordinary.

At around 10.30am, a police unit has performed a routine traffic stop on Reynella Drive.

The attending officers were shot and a member of the public has also been hit by the vehicle.

The second officer and the member of the public are in hospital where they are being treated for their injuries. The member of the public has minor injuries and the officer has serious injuries.

The alleged offender has fled the scene and enquiries are ongoing to locate them.

While efforts to locate the offender are ongoing staff in Tāmaki Makaurau will be armed.

Our priority is to support our officers and to locate this alleged offender as soon as possible.

This incident points to the real risks our officers face on the streets, doing their jobs, every day.

Staff safety and welfare are our absolute priority and our whole organisation is in a state of shock after these horrific events.

Further information will be released as it becomes available.

This is a tragedy for the officer’s family, friends and colleagues.

Such killings are rare but this is a reminder of the danger police face every day and night.


How many more out there?

17/06/2020

Very soon after the Christchurch mosque massacres, people started asking how Brenton Tarrant had been able to obtain a gun licence. More than a year later, it’s found he shouldn’t have:

The March 15 terrorist was wrongly granted a firearms licence due to a string of police failures, sources have told Stuff.

The terrorist, who pleaded guilty to New Zealand’s worst mass shooting in March, was not properly inspected by police vetting staff when he applied for a firearms licence in 2017.

Stuff has been told that, among other errors, police failed to interview a family member as required, instead relying on two men who met the terrorist through an internet chatroom. 

More than a year on from the March 15 terror attack, police insiders say the error was the product of a long neglected police firearms system that did not have the resources to properly handle applications. 

“This was avoidable. If police had addressed some of the issues with administering firearms years ago, this could have been avoided,” a source said. . .

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) highlighted shortcomings in the system in a submission to the Royal Commission into the killings last year:

COLFO chair Michael Dowling said it was clear that the alleged perpetrator should never have been deemed a ‘fit and proper’ person to own the guns and large capacity magazines used in the attack.

“He was able to slip through gaps created by a system chronically stretched by poor resourcing and funding, as well as a lack of expertise and knowledge.” . . 

“We don’t know the background checks into Tarrant, but we do know he had travelled to unusual locations internationally, was not a New Zealand resident for long and was not involved with firearms as a hobby.

“Despite this, Tarrant applied for, and received, his firearms licence in 2017.

“This raises serious concerns for vetting procedures and whether the 2010 police vetting guide was adhered to during Tarrant’s licencing process. We understand that his referees had never met him in person, nor did they include a family member.” . . 

Not having the resources to handle applications properly might be an excuse for delays, it’s not an excuse for failing to follow the correct procedure and for granting a licence to someone who so obviously didn’t meet the required criteria.

This appalling systems failure led to the death of 51 people and injuries to several more.

It also led to the contentious and expensive gun buy-back scheme that may have done no more than take firearms from innocent people and left more with criminals.

Yesterday we learned that another systems failure led to two people with Covid-19 being grant compassionate leave from managed isolation after arriving from the UK:

Two Kiwi women – one in her 30s and one in her 40s – arrived on June 7 on an Air New Zealand flight from Brisbane, before staying at the Novotel Auckland Ellerslie hotel in managed isolation.

The pair was given special dispensation to leave isolation on June 13 to support grieving family after a parent’s death in Wellington. Officials were adamant the pair travelled in a private car and did not use public facilities during their journey.

Bloomfield confirmed the pair was not tested for Covid-19 before being allowed to leave the Novotel in Auckland, but had complied with the terms of their special dispensation and underwent testing in Wellington. 

The women are now in self-isolation in the Hutt Valley.

“The relative died quite quickly, the exemption was granted and the plan was approved,” Bloomfield said.

“Again, I just want to support the efforts that these women have gone to abide by the agreed plan,” Bloomfield said. 

But the emergence of the two cases has sparked an immediate change in policy, with the Government temporarily suspending all compassionate exemptions at the border.

It would only be reinstated once the Government had confidence in the system. . .

Yesterday we also learned that two teenagers ran away from authorities after being allowed special dispensation from Covid-19 related quarantine to attend a funeral in Hamilton.

They have since been located and one is in managed isolation while the other is in an agreed community arrangement, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed this afternoon.

He did not know how many days their whereabouts were unknown. . . 

Speaking to Heather Du-Plessis Allan on Newstalk ZB Tuesday evening, Health Minister David Clark did not seem to know about the runaway pair.

“I’m not aware of the details of that case…I have not had a briefing on that, I will seek a briefing on that.”

Clark said he was disappointed to see that the measures he thought were put in place to prevent another outbreak didn’t appear to be.

“If it is as you described it, then it underscores my request to suspend compassionate exemptions until we ensure that the system is working as intended.” . . 

Working as intended?

How hard is it to test people when they arrive and again before they are permitted to leave isolation or quarantine?

No wonder National’s health spokesman Michael Woodhouse is questioning whether the Ministry of Health is following its own protocols:

. . . Both cases recently arrived from the United Kingdom and left managed isolation on compassionate grounds after six days with no Covid-19 test. However compassionate leave to exit managed isolation can only be given after seven days and a negative test according to guidance from the Ministry dated 9 June.

“Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield claimed in the press conference that going forward they will now test on exit in case of compassionate grounds, but the Ministry of Health website said this was already the case and the ministry simply failed to fulfil its own procedures.

“It’s fair to expect there will still be the occasional case of Covid-19 pop up as we recover from the past few months, but we need to be positive that the Government has the appropriate protocols in place to identify and trace these cases so they don’t become a bigger cluster.

“New Zealanders have done the hard yards over recent months in flattening the curve of Covid-19, the Government can’t let this hard work go to waste due to sloppy lapses in procedure.” 

Covid-19 spread through New Zealand because our borders weren’t closed soon enough and people who came in were trusted to self-isolate themselves.

When the disease is still rife in so many other countries it is not surprising that people coming in to New Zealand have brought it with them.

But it is sheer incompetence that allowed people to have compassionate leave without being tested and let a couple of teens to run away after a funeral.

Tackling Covid-19 has come at a huge cost. Opening the border is necessary to help with the recovery and for compassionate reasons but it must be done in a way that doesn’t risk the spread of disease here.

The answer isn’t denying compassionate leave to other innocent people, it’s following the necessary protocols to test people, and get the result of the tests, before allowing that leave.

Police and health are two of the basic public services we should all be able to trust and that requires systems we can all have confidence in.

But the serious failures in these cases undermines confidence and raise another very big question: how many other people have been given gun licenses who shouldn’t have and how many others have come through the border and been let out of isolation or quarantine without testing for Covid-19?


Ten Five

11/05/2019

Police have announced a new number to call for non-emergencies:

At 10:05 am on the 10th of the 5th, New Zealand Police is launching 105 (“ten five”), the eagerly anticipated number for the public to report non-emergency situations to Police.

“More than 60 years on from the first 111 call, the launch of 105 today is a milestone for New Zealand Police, offering a new way for people to connect with us,” says Commissioner of Police Mike Bush.

“The 105 number and our online platform – 105.police.govt.nz – will make it easier for the public to engage with us for non-emergency help, advice and support.”

105 is a national non-emergency number that will be answered 24/7 by highly trained Police staff.

It is free to call from all landline and mobile numbers.

“Introducing 105 is part of our drive to modernise the way we deliver services to the public and ensure everyone in New Zealand can access policing services – anywhere, anytime,” says Commissioner Bush.

“We want people to use 105 to report non-emergency situations.

For example, if your car has been stolen, your property has been damaged, or you want to give Police information about crime in your area; use 105.

“111, on the other hand, should still be called immediately if a crime is taking place or there’s a threat to life or property.

It’s the number you use to connect with Police, Fire and Emergency, and the ambulance services.”

As well as by phone, people can go online to the 105 website to report certain non-emergency situations, and get updates on or add more information to their existing reports.

Currently, lost property, intentional property damage, shoplifting, general theft, and theft from a car can be reported at 105.police.govt.nz.

“We’re encouraging people to report non-emergencies online when and if they can,” says Commissioner Bush.

A public education and marketing campaign will ensure all New Zealanders are aware of the 105 number.

The public education campaign kicks off today and uses posters, brochures, and social media to help inform all New Zealanders about the number and when and how to use it.

Commissioner Bush says Police has planned for an increase in non-emergency calls with the introduction of 105.

“We’ll launch our marketing campaign – including a jingle designed to guarantee 105 is a number you’ll never forget – once we are sure we understand the demand which has been generated from the public education campaign.”

Further information about 105 and promotional material is available online at 105.police.govt.nz.

People used the emergency, 111, number for more than a million non-emergencies in the past year:

* A caller had run out of smokes and wanted someone to bring him some more.

* A caller’s hair colour was not the same on the packet and she wanted a refund.

* A caller wanted someone to come clean up her husband’s vomit, because she didn’t like the smell.

* A caller couldn’t turn off the TV (police suggested unplugging it). . . .

Whether people who call the emergency number for these non-emergencies will have the sense to call the new non-emergency number will remain to be seen.

But any reduction in calls which unnecessarily tie up the emergency line will be an improvement.

But why 105?

Ten five used to be police code for out of service for a short time but is now obsolete.


Deaf and mentally disabled don’t count?

16/07/2018

Last week we learned the government had withdrawn funding for cochlear implants, this week it’s a pilot for mental health support workers:

The Government’s decision to axe a universally-supported pilot to improve the response to 111 mental health calls is nothing short of disgraceful, especially after Labour pledged to make mental health a priority, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“It has been revealed that Labour has scrapped a pilot in which a mental health nurse would attend mental health incidents alongside police and paramedics to ensure that people in distress receive timely responses that are tailored to their needs.

“Police spend around 280 hours a day responding to mental health calls. They do a good job, but are not mental health professionals so having a mental health nurse deployed to incidents with police would make a real difference.

“The increasing demand on police to respond to mental health crises is set to continue. That’s why the National Government set aside $8 million for the pilot as part of our $100 million mental health package.

“Police Minister Stuart Nash confirmed in answers to written questions the day of the Police Estimates hearing that the pilot would be canned, yet Police Commissioner Mike Bush told the hearing that police were very hopeful it would continue – in front of Mr Nash.

“Mr Nash has admitted that police are dealing with more and more mental health cases. The pilot would have eased pressure on police and improved the quality of the response for those experiencing mental distress.

“It beggars belief that this Government would axe the potentially game-changing pilot which had universal support from those on the frontline dealing with mental health, including mental health expert Nigel Fairley who said in February that the pilot was top of his spending list.

“The Government is again wilfully disregarding the expert advice and belittling calls from police and mental health experts to improve first responder processes.

“People need more help now. The Government must listen to the experts and reinstate funding for this pilot immediately.”

The government has an inquiry into mental health underway and last week announced the setting up of a criminal justice advisory group.

I will be very surprised if both don’t find a link between lack of support for the mentally ill and crime.

Deisntitutionalisation of mentally ill people was a humane policy but it hasn’t been backed up by enough support for many of them and their families.

That is one factor contributing to our high crime and incarceration rates.

Having mental health support people as first responders would not only help people in desperate need, it would make the work of the police less difficult and improve public safety.

Both Labour and the Greens say they stand for the most vulnerable, NZ First says it stands for improved law and order, withdrawing this funding is another example of their actions contradicting their rhetoric.

It is letting down the most vulnerable and their families and will make the work of police much harder.

It is also another example of wrong priorities. Had the government not wasted money on fee-free tertiary education, good looking horses, and other fripperies there would be more than enough for the deaf and mentally disabled.


Positive policing

26/04/2018

A speed camera was put on a pole on state highway 1 on what locals call Holmes Hill in Oamaru.

Several people have had letters from the police telling them that their vehicles were snapped exceeding the speed limit but no action would be taken.

The letter went on to explain why the camera was positioned there and remind the recipients of the dangers of speeding.

That’s positive policing.

 


In praise of police response

04/01/2018

The radio warned us State Highway 1 would be busy yesterday and as we headed home from Christchurch it was.

However, drivers going in both directions were being careful and considerate.

Then a car came up behind us.

We were at the back of a line of traffic, all travelling at the speed limit. Passing would require a car to go considerably faster and with 10 more cars in front of us little would be achieved.

That didn’t stop the driver behind us who pulled out, overtook and got very close to the next vehicle in front.

The car kept swerving to the right and the left,. We presumed the driver was trying to see if the road ahead was clear.

Eventually it was, as far as we could see but that wasn’t very far which was why there was a long yellow no-passing line.

The yellow line meant nothing to the driver in front who pulled out and passed the next vehicle, pulling back to his side of the road just before the brow of a hill.

Had anyone been coming the other way there would have been a very big mess.

Fortunately there wasn’t but what if there was a next time?

I wasn’t prepared to risk it and rang *555.

My call was answered immediately and dealt with efficiently.

A few kilometres on we saw a police car indicating to pull out. My farmer slowed to allow it to go ahead of us and shortly afterwards we saw its lights flashing in the distance.

When we got closer we saw the vehicle it had stopped wasn’t the one we’d called about.

We stopped, I got out and told the officer we’d called *555 but not about this vehicle.

He rolled off the registration number of the car we’d reported and said they’d had calls about the one he’d stopped too and someone else would be on the look out for the other one.

Traffic police are often criticised as revenue gatherers.

We rarely praise them for keeping roads safer as the officer we saw yesterday was doing but people the length and breadth of the country get home safely because of the work he and his colleagues do and they deserve our thanks.

 


Freeze!

28/11/2017

A recruitment video for the New Zealand Police is getting lots of attention.

Let’s hope it achieves its aim of attracting more recruits.


Baad driver feeling sheepish

22/01/2016

Road spikes are often used to stop fleeing drivers, but today a car being chased by police found its way barred (baaad?) by sheep:

A Queenstown police officer’s flock of sheep joined the line of duty on Friday morning.

The sheep were being moved along Littles Rd when they became the road block finishing a 90 minute police car chase through Central Otago and Queenstown.

Senior Sergeant Paula Enoka, of Queenstown, said the mob belonged to a local officer and happened to be in the right place at the right time.

They were being moved by a farm worker, who appeared unfazed by the scene unfolding behind him and carried on with the job. 

None of the sheep, or working dogs, were injured as the car came to a halt before attempting to drive through the flock. . . .

The baaad driver and passengers are no doubt feeling sheepish.

Ewe’d have to see it to believe it.

 


Quote of the day

25/09/2015

First of all, let me tell you this … it’s not easy. In the Palmerston North and rural area we average one cop for every 505 people. Only about 60 per cent of those cops are on general duty (or what you might refer to as “general patrols”) where we do most of our harassing.

The rest are in non-harassing units that do not allow them contact with the day to day innocents. At any given moment, only one-fifth of the 60 per cent of general patrols are on duty and available for harassing people while the rest are off duty. So, roughly, one cop is responsible for harassing about 6000 residents.

When you toss in the commercial business and tourist locations that attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a single cop is responsible for harassing 15,000 or more people a day.

Now, your average eight-hour shift runs 28,800 seconds long. This gives a cop two-thirds of a second to harass a person, and then only another third of a second to drink a Massey iced coffee AND then find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. To be honest, most cops are not up to the challenge day in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilise some tools to help us narrow down those people we can realistically harass.

PHONE: People will call us up and point out things that cause us to focus on a person for special harassment. “My neighbour is beating his wife” is a code phrase used often. This means we’ll come out and give somebody some special harassment. Another popular one is, “There’s a guy breaking into a house.” The harassment team is then put into action.

CARS: We have special cops assigned to harass people who drive. They like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars with no insurance or drivers with no licences and the like. It’s lots of fun when you pick them out of traffic for nothing more obvious than running a red light.  Sometimes you get to really heap the harassment on when you find they have drugs in the car, they are drunk, or have an outstanding warrant on file.

LAWS: When we don’t have phone or cars, and have nothing better to do, there are actually books that give us ideas for reasons to harass folks. They are called “statutes”. These include the Crimes Act, Summary Offences Act, Land Transport Act and a whole bunch of others… They spell out all sorts of things for which you can really mess with people. After you read the law, you can just drive around for a while until you find someone violating one of these listed offences and harass them. Just last week I saw a guy trying to steal a car. Well, the book says that’s not allowed. That meant I had permission to harass this guy.

It is a really cool system that we have set up, and it works pretty well. We seem to have a never-ending supply of folks to harass. And we get away with it. Why? Because, for the good citizens who pay the tab, we try to keep the streets safe for them, and they pay us to “harass” some people.

Next time you are in Palmerston North, give me the old “single finger wave”. That’s another one of those codes. It means, “You can harass me.” It’s one of our favourites. – A police sergeant responding to a message on a police website saying: I would like to know how it is possible for police officers to continually harass people and get away with it?


Will armed police make NZ safer?

05/05/2015

Police Association president Greg O’Connor wants all frontline police to be armed.

Would that make New Zealand safer?

Would it even make police safer?

It would at times but would it overall?

I am happy for any police to have pepper spray and tasers but I think the risks of all police being armed outweigh the benefits.


Recorded crime drops

02/04/2014

More good news on the social front – recorded crime is at a 29 year  low:

 New figures show criminal offences have dropped by 4.1percent in the last year, the lowest crime figure in real terms in 29 years.

When considered against a 0.9 percent growth in population, offending dropped by 5 percent per head of population, or 15,602 fewer crimes were recorded in 2013 than in 2012.

Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush said Police were delighted with the historic figure.

“We are deploying staff more efficiently and pro-actively to ensure Police are in the right place at the right time to prevent crime from occurring.

“In 2013 we conducted over 104,000 foot patrols across New Zealand. Frontline officers are now spending an extra 30 minutes per shift out in communities preventing crime.”

“The sharp reduction in public place assaults is a great example of how our Prevention First strategy is making our communities safer.”

Nine of the twelve Police districts recorded decreases in recorded crime. Auckland and Wellington Districts recorded the biggest reductions at 9.9 percent, followed by Bay of Plenty at 7.4 percent and Southern at 6.6 percent.

In contrast, sexual assault offences rose by 11.6 percent in 2013 but Mr Bush believes this is likely to be due to increased reporting.

“We know that sexual violence is under-reported, and we are heartened that more victims of this type of crime are coming forward,” Mr Bush said.

There was also a 22.7 percent drop in illicit drug offences in 2013, mostly due to a reduction in cannabis cultivation and possession.

A 59 percent increase in the import or export illicit drugs offence category was the result of Police’s targeted campaign against organised crime groups that control large parts of the New Zealand methamphetamine drug trade.

 “The figures are a credit to our staff who are committed to making New Zealand communities safer,” Mr Bush said.

 Police Minister Anne Tolley congratulated Police on the announcement:

“Fewer crimes means fewer victims and safer communities, and I want to thank our officers for everything they are doing to serve and protect the public,” says Mrs Tolley. . .

Photo: More frontline policing is helping to bring down crime and make our streets safer. Read more at: www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=43511  What do you think of National’s progress on law and order?


Mistakes

09/01/2014

A new road safety advertisement has gone viral:

Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse has welcomed the unprecedented response to the latest road safety advertisement from the NZTA.

“Mistakes, is a powerful new ad that helps drivers understand that no matter how careful they are, other people will always make mistakes, and if we slow down fewer people will pay for mistakes with their lives,” Mr Woodhouse says.

Mr Woodhouse says the clip has had more than 2 million views on Youtube since it was first launched just four days ago, and the message is resonating both in New Zealand and around the world.

“It’s a terrific sign of success that this message has gone viral and got people talking about road safety around the world. We have had requests to use the advert from as far afield as Brazil and Poland, and had questions and positive feedback from the US, Canada, Australia, the UK and Sweden.

“Educational campaigns that invoke a strong emotional response can be far more effective in changing behaviour than simply telling people to obey the rules.

“It really brings home the point that the faster you go, the less time you have to react if someone makes a mistake on the road – even if you feel in control.” . . .

Most advertisements focus on people’s own driving, this one makes you think about other people’s mistakes.

“Mistakes was developed as part of the Government’s effort to change the conversation around speed, which is a key plank of the Safer Journeys strategy.

“While the road toll has been reducing in recent years, there is no silver bullet when it comes to improving road safety, and success will ultimately be measured by a society increasingly free of death and injury on our roads.”

Mr Woodhouse acknowledges the collaborative efforts of the NZTA, Police and Clemenger BBDO in creating the advertisement. The previous record for a NZ video passing two million views was Blazed, which took nearly two weeks, and prior to that was Ghost Chips, which took over a month to hit the mark.


Police give new alcohol laws green light

24/12/2013

Police have given an interim green light to new liquor laws:

Inspector Ben Offner said Police were called out to less alcohol related harm events over the weekend than in previous December weekends.

“It is very early days,” Mr Offner said. “But the signs are positive that the legislation will reduce alcohol related harm in our community.”

“Police’s focus is very much on prevention rather than enforcement. The new legislation gives our officers more tools to prevent violence and alcohol related harm from occurring. ”

“We believe shorter opening hours, on-the-spot fines and stricter enforcement of under-age identification will in time all reduce alcohol related harm.”

The new legislation came into effect from one minute past midnight on Thursday 19 December.

The most visible changes include:

· off-licenses must close by 11pm

· on-licenses must close at 4am

· Police officers will be able to issue alcohol infringement offence notices (AIONs) for a range of new offences, including breach of local alcohol bans, lending ID to an under-18 year-old, and presenting a fake ID ($250 per offence).

Bars that serve intoxicated people, or allow them to remain on the premises while intoxicated, risk a fine of up to $10,000. Police throughout New Zealand will use an “alcohol assessment tool” to make consistent assessments of whether a person is merely under the influence of alcohol or “intoxicated” as defined in the Act.

Mr Offner said it is too early to evaluate the cumulative effects of all these changes but it is clear that young New Zealanders will need to adjust their schedules to accommodate the new laws.

“We expect there to be a period of adjustment and our focus will be on education and prevention during the busy summer period ahead.”

Mr Offner said the Auckland and Wellington City Council’s had been instrumental in creating a smooth transition over the weekend by providing more public transport and helping to educate bar owners and customers of their new responsibilities.

One change not mentioned in this report is the ability for police to give spot fines to drunks.

That puts the responsibility where it should be – with the person who’s drinking too much and causing problems because of it.


Want to bet on chances of a prosecution?

05/12/2013

The Electoral Commission has referred Labour leader David Cunliffe to the police over the tweet he sent on the morning of the Christchurch East by-election urging people to vote for Labour candidate Poto Williams.

It is the Electoral Commission’s view that the statement constituted a breach of section 197(1)(g)(i) of the Electoral Act 1993 because it was a statement published on polling day advising, or intended, or likely to influence electors as to the candidate for whom they should or should not vote in the by-election.

Does anyone want to bet on the chances of a prosecution resulting from the referral?

If the number of prosecutions made on electoral matters in recent years is anything to go by the odds would be very long.

Cunliffe issued a brief media statement:

Labour has today been advised the Electoral Commission has referred a tweet I made on Saturday to the Police, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

“I understand this is a routine part of the Commission’s process.

“I will be co-operating fully with any inquiry and won’t be making any further statement on this matter as it is now part of a formal process,” David Cunliffe says.

No mention there of him standing down as he has called for other MPs who have been referred to the police to do.

As a tweeter remarked:

Now that @DavidCunliffeMP has been referred to the Police, when is @DavidCunliffeMP going to demand that he be stood down from office

 


What’s a sackable offence on radio?

08/11/2013

What’s a sackable offence on RadioLive?

Gross misogyny by Willie Jackson and John Tamihere doesn’t seem to have been.

Will losing advertising revenue change that?

Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have been criticised over the way they interviewed an 18-year-old girl who said she was friends of one of the gang’s victims on Tuesday.

They were forced to apologise yesterday but that wasn’t enough for some, and today’s show saw a guest panelist storm out after a heated on air row.

Now it has emerged that a number of advertisers have withdrawn their support of the show and RadioLive while the pair remains on air.

ANZ, Yellow and Freeview have confirmed they are cancelling their ads on the show, and AA Insurance has indicated the same.

It came after blogger Giovanni Tiso contacted around 30 companies which advertised on the Willie and JT Show yesterday, asking them if they would reconsider their support of the programme. . .

The station also lost a guest:

Matthew Hooton walked out of the RadioLive interview today after becoming embroiled in an argument with one of the show’s hosts and being told to “shut your mouth”.

The writer was a guest on Jackson and Tamihere’s RadioLive show discussing the Roast Busters and the fall-out from the scandal, but it quickly descended into an argument when Mr Hooton confronted them about their attitude towards a young woman they interviewed on Tuesday.

The row culminated in Mr Hooton being told to “shut your mouth” or leave the studio. He walked out to shouts of “get out, get out of our studio”.

Listeners could hear fumbling as headphones and microphones were taken off before the station quickly cut to an ad break. . .

The attitude of the hosts in appearing to blame the victim in the interview is part of the problem and there are questions over whether some police have a similar attitude.

Police Minister Anne Tolley has taken the unprecedented step of referring the case to the Independent Police Complaints Authority:

Police Minister Anne Tolley says she has written to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, asking it to investigate the “Roast Busters” case in Auckland, particularly the questioning of a thirteen year-old girl in 2011.

“Parents of young girls need to have confidence that complaints to Police about sexual assault are investigated thoroughly and appropriately,” says Mrs Tolley.

“As Minister, I can’t delve into the details of a Police investigation – politicians cannot interfere in Police inquiries.

“But the IPCA does have the power to carry out an independent assessment of the details surrounding these events, and I believe this is the right course of action to ensure the public has confidence in the Police on this matter.

“This morning the Commissioner has again assured me that this inquiry has been thorough, and that there was a comprehensive investigation into the victim’s complaint.

“However, I have made it clear to the Commissioner that I am disappointed that the full facts have not been available to me or to him.

“I don’t expect to be told finer details of Police operations. Police must remain independent of politicians. But I do expect Police to be talking to each other.

“I would again urge any young women who have been affected to come forward and talk to Police as a first step in gathering evidence which can be used to bring people to justice.”

This referral is the right action when there are so many questions about the way the case has been handled.

Police at first said they hadn’t taken any action because there had been no formal complaints. But four girls complained to police.

. . . She was one of four girls who went to police over incidents involving Roast Busters. She went through the process of making her complaint with police formal via an evidential video interview.

The other girls were all aged between 13 and 15.

She has now said she will lay a second complaint with police because her alleged attackers were “sick boys that were twisted in the head”. . .

It takes a lot of courage to make a complaint of this nature, even more so if an earlier complaint wasn’t handled sensitively.


Prevention vs prosecution

05/11/2013

Abhorrent, cruel, deviant, disgusting, inhuman, immoral, shameful, sickening . . .

All of these adjectives can be applied to the people portrayed on the sexploitation Facebook page, Roast Busters, and their exploits.

The story so far raises lots of questions, one of which is why the police allowed the page to stay up for so long.

Last night 3 News revealed police had been monitoring the ‘Roast Busters’ for two-and-a-half years, but it wasn’t until 3 News contacted Facebook that their page on the social networking site was taken down.

In videos uploaded to the internet, 17- and 18-year-old Auckland men brag about their sexual conquests, who are often drunk and underage. The teenagers also actively recruit new members. . .

Police told 3 News they haven’t been able to take action against the group – aside from a warning – because none of the victims have laid a formal complaint.

“We would love to take some positive action for these girls and others who may be victims in the future, but without actual evidence my hands are tied,” says Detective Inspector Bruce Scott.

“None of the girls have been brave enough to make formal statements to us so we can take it to a prosecution stage or even consider a prosecution stage.”

And the Roast Busters’ Facebook page was allowed to stay online for similar reasons.

“These things obviously did breach Facebook’s terms and conditions, but it takes somebody to see it and make that complaint in order for action to happen,” says Mr Lyons.

Are the need to gather evidence for prosecution and the prevention of more crime mutually exclusive?

Could the police not have identified the perpetrators, interviewed them and alerted their families and schools to what was happening?

Couldn’t they at least have alerted the public to protect the girls and possibly prevent more rapes?

Answering those questions might be easier than finding out how people in a supposedly civilised country can be so divorced from civilised behaviour.

The Harmful Digital Communications Bill being introduced to parliament by Justice Minister Judith Collins might help prevent this sort of abuse in future.

“The Harmful Digital Communications Bill sends a strong message to those who continue to harass and harm others online – time’s up.”

Research shows one in five New Zealand high school students has experienced some sort of cyber bullying or harassment.

“Cyber bullying can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, particularly young people. This Bill will protect victims and hold perpetrators to account.”

Proposals in the Bill include:

  • Creating a new civil enforcement regime that includes setting up or appointing an approved agency as the first port of call for complaints.
  • Allowing people to take serious complaints to the District Court, which will be able to issue remedies such as take-down orders and cease-and-desist notices.
  • Providing a legislative mechanism for people to easily and quickly request the removal of harmful content from websites, which also clarifies the law relating to website hosts (called a “safe harbour” provision).
  • Making it an offence to send messages and post material online with intent to cause harm, punishable by up to three months imprisonment or a $2,000 fine.
  • Creating a new offence of incitement to commit suicide, even in situations when a person does not attempt to take their own life, punishable by up to three years imprisonment.

The Bill includes changes to relevant criminal and civil law to ensure they cover all forms of harmful communications, regardless of whether tormentors use “online” or “offline” means. It also future-proofs the laws against technological advances, to ensure they remain relevant.

But it will take a lot more than legislation to address the causes of  these heinous crimes.

The FAQs on the Bill are here.


What really matters

24/10/2013

While the Auckland mayor’s misdeeds grab the headlines, the government is concentrating on what really matters which includes reducing crime.

In her speech to the Police Association’s annual conference Police Minister Anne Tolley said:

. . . In the last fiscal year there were almost 30,000 fewer recorded crimes.

Over the past three years there were over 75,000 fewer crimes.

Offences fell by 7.4 per cent in the past year – with a 17.4 per cent reduction over three years.

So the focus on crime prevention by our frontline officers is getting the results we all wanted – safer communities and fewer victims of crime.

And I want to thank Police staff for their great efforts. . . .

Less crime means fewer victims and the financial, physical and personal costs they face.

It means less time and money spent on catching, trying, monitoring, imprisoning and rehabilitating criminals.

It means fewer prisons.

It means safer neighbourhoods and greater personal security.

It is very good news.

Earlier today at the Police Association Annual Conference I thanked the Police for the important part they’re playing in helping to make our streets and communities safer for families.


Good police work

16/09/2013

Just a few days after the murder of a farm worker at Elderslie in our neighbourhood the police have made two arrests.

The first man accused of the murder appeared in court on Friday, a second was arrested at the weekend and is due to appear in court today.

A murder so close to home has opened our eyes to a dark side of our district of which we were unaware.

It is reassuring to know that this criminal element is countered by good police work.


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