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Very pleased to see a crackdown on crime coming in the form of some dollars and sense from the government. The sense to finally recognise we have a major problem with crime in this country.
$562 million in funding over four years will see a long-overdue increase in Police numbers and plans to tackle gang violence. More Police is a no brainer and should've happened ages ago, but I’m interested in how they tangibly expect to crack down on gang crime. Because it’s rife now and embedded in virtually every corner of this country. The Police have also announced a new crackdown coming for gangs starting in June, but it raises a few questions.
First of all, why would they make a gang crackdown public and essentially give gangs a month or two’s notice? Secondly, what actually does ‘increasing focus on unlawful behaviour’ entail? I mean is that simply a surveillance thing? They’ll watch the gangs and start monitoring what they’re up to? Part of yesterday’s release on tackling gang violence said money would include extensions to ‘successful rehabilitation programmes to break the cycle of offending and entering a life of crime’.
I’m not sure that’s the edge of the gang market we need to be focussed on at the moment, the behaviour we tend to see is overtly proud gang members feeling emboldened, not so much those keen for a bit of rehab and turning their life around.
Police have said they want to make communities feel safe. We are a long way off that at the moment if you speak to any dairy or liquor store owner fearing for their lives, sleeping in their shop, or having to shell out for bollards and fog canons.
It's a very Labour government approach to announce stuff, and we like announcements, the media gets very excited about announcements, but it’s quite another thing to actually produce tangible results. Which is I’m sure what would make communities feel safe – results. It is however a big step forward to get past denial of crime being an issue. (They must’ve had a word with Poto Williams about actually acknowledging that crime is real.)
And I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, a government keen to reduce prison populations, reticent to arrest people with a soft approach from the top in the form of Police Commissioner Andy Coster. Plus, that interesting piece of international research which showed violent crime is up globally 35 per cent, and it’s the countries who locked down their citizens, who are now experiencing more violent crime. And that makes sense – you repress people, control them and restrict them for so long, they’re going to go nuts when they're set free.
Certainly, we’re seeing that here with violent crime up, gun crime up, 15 to 20 ram raids a week, and according to stats obtained by the National Party, gang recruits now outstripping new Police.
So it makes sense to bolster the other side of the equation at long last – it’s going to take 4 years though. Let’s just hope is it’s not too little too late.