We’ve worked hard to make sure our communities are safer places for everyone to live. Since taking office in 2017, we’ve delivered New Zealand’s largest Police force ever, taken action on gang violence, and extended successful rehabilitation programmes to break the cycle of offending.
We have seen a significant reduction in youth crime since taking office in 2017 but more recently there has been a spike in ram raids. We’ve responded quickly to this spike by providing new support to small businesses to protect them from this criminal activity.
Protecting Kiwi businesses from ram raids
Today, we’ve announced further support to help Police protect small businesses affected by recent a spike in ram raids.
Vulnerable small retailers will be supported with effective and practical solutions - such as bollards or other protection structures - based on the particular features of their location. These measures will be funded through the Proceeds of Crime Fund, which was designed to redistribute money from crime and put it into initiatives that keep our communities safer.
Work will also be done to identity the range of crime and security risks each small retailer may face, and other options such as security alarms or screens will be considered to provide further support.
We’ve previously taken a similar approach to support hundreds of Kiwi businesses with the installation of fog cannons to successfully prevent robberies.
This builds on work done by the National Retail Investigation Support Unit set up by Police in November 2021 in partnership with Retail NZ. In Waikato, Operation Pryor has targeted offenders involved in ram raids, and resulted in 150 arrests and 750 charges laid.
It also adds to the Government’s already-record investment in Police, to which Budget 2022 added over $562 million over four years.
The evidence shows our law and order approach is working
While we are seeing a current spike in ram raids, the evidence shows that youth offending overall has dropped significantly under our Government.
What Kiwis saw from the previous National-led Government was an approach to law and order that was marked by failure. Police numbers decreased, the prison population significantly increased and plans were developed for a billion-dollar US-style mega prison.
Our Government is laying the foundation for real change. To keep New Zealanders safe, we’re ensuring those who commit serious and violent crime are held accountable, while also providing a modern approach to rehabilitation for low risk offenders to set them on a different path and reduce re-offending.
We’ve taken a range of steps to better support victims, such as expanding the Victim Assistance Scheme, to help ease the burden of ease the burden of victimisation for New Zealanders.
We’ve already delivered New Zealand’s largest Police force ever, and, once we achieve our goal of an extra 1800 Police officers later this year, we will ensure numbers don’t fall away again by maintaining an ongoing ratio of one Police officer to every 480 Kiwis.
We’re continuing to tackle gangs and organised crime with strong enforcement, such as seizing illicit assets and proceeds of crime, as well as taking illegal firearms off the streets.
Alongside our increased Police prevention work, and in keeping with our policy of being tough on crime, we’re also taking an effective approach to rehabilitation and tackling the root causes of crime.
Many young people who fall foul of the law have experienced challenges many of us could never imagine. There’s no easy fix but that isn’t stopping us from taking action.
We’re doing more to support families across every single aspect of our work programme – from delivering more healthy rentals, to ensuring there are pathways back into education for kids, as well as reducing cost pressures on whānau.
We’re undertaking further work to focus on the causes of child and youth offending and how to build on the success of the existing early interventions approach.
We’re also providing real rehabilitation and intensive wrap-around support to set young people on a different path. For example, we recently launched an innovative new residence in South Auckland, designed in partnership with Māori to provide prevention and rehabilitation services for young people remanded or sentenced, and their whānau.
It will take time to break cycles of violence and offending, but the evidence shows our plan is working – we just need to keep going with what works.
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