ZB

Chris Hipkins indicates gang crackdown after taking police portfolio

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Jun 2022, 10:37am
Police Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Police Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Chris Hipkins indicates gang crackdown after taking police portfolio

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Jun 2022, 10:37am

New Police Minister Chris Hipkins has indicated that he will be strengthening gang and gun laws, meaning gang members could soon find their assets seized if they are found with illegal firearms.

Hipkins told AM that he and new Justice Minister Kiri Allen have already started having discussions about the issue.

He would not go into detail about specifics.

"We're aiming to get a package together, which we'll talk about in the next few weeks," he said.

"Is there more that we can do in that space? Yes, I think there is."

This comes after a spate of gang shootings in Auckland recently, and ram raids that have been tormenting retailers in the city since April.

Hipkins took over the portfolio from Poto Williams earlier this month during a Cabinet reshuffle.

Williams was scrutinised during her time in the role, especially in the past few months as crime increased.

Hipkins said he probably had a different style of operation from his predecessor but hoped to continue her work around cultural change in the police.

"I want to acknowledge Poto Williams' role [and] time in the job, it's a tough job and I think the work that she was doing around culture change in the police was very important and I hope that we'll be able to continue that," he said.

Hipkins also spoke about his plans to connect police with other government agencies in an effort to prevent crime, with a particular focus on youth offending.

He said there is an opportunity to have police work with the education sector, Oranga Tamariki and other social sector agencies to get to the bottom of the underlying contributors to criminal activity.

He said there is great concern around youth crime at the moment.

"Getting those kids back into education, training or employment is really important and something we can do to ease the pressure on police," said Hipkins.

"We can't just have punishment after the fact, we've got to look at more prevention and getting those young people engaged."

He said it is far less likely that youth would be out at night offending if they were better engaged.

Speaking to Breakfast, Hipkins said he believed social media was a contributing factor to the spike in youth crime.

"When it comes to some of the youth offending we're seeing at the moment, social media is playing a much bigger role.

"Some of those things we're seeing are made for TikTok videos. Those young people are basically aiming to become notorious. They're aiming for the fame that goes with their offending."

Earlier, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said most of the ram raiders tormenting Auckland are younger than 15.

On the review of the police pursuit policy, Hipkins said that he has only had preliminary conversations with police but will continue discussions.

"It's something I know police are very focused on," he said.