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Joint effort needed to combat gang violence

Media Release - Wednesday 30 January 2008

Joint effort needed to combat gang violence in Manukau

A community and multi agency response is the most effective means of dealing with the inter-gang violence that erupted in Manukau city last night.

Police Minister Annette King, Mayor of Manukau Len Brown and Counties Manukau Police District Commander Superintendent Steve Shortland, today visited the site of the shooting incident in Otara's Othello Drive to issue assurances that everything possible was being done to keep the people of Manukau safe.

Ms King said she was assured by the police that the gang-related shooting last night was not connected to the earlier stabbing incidents in Manukau and that none of the previous incidents had any connection with each other.

"The timing of these outbursts of violence is an unfortunate coincidence, not an indication of a rising crime wave in Manukau city," she said.

However, Ms King said she had made visiting Manukau today a priority to ensure that all the resources the police needed to deal with this string of incidents were available, and she was satisfied this was the case.

Mayor of Manukau Len Brown said he welcomed assurances from the police and Minister King that police resources were focussed on gaining control of the incident very quickly and "cooling the community down". Good progress had already been made, including at two arrests.

"What neither the police nor the Manukau City Council will be doing, however, is attempting to sweep this series of violent incidents under the carpet or dismiss them as a statistical aberration," Mr Brown said.

"These incidents remind us that while the vast majority of our community, and its young people, are peaceful, law abiding and lead good constructive lives, there is a small element that disproportionately contributes to our crime statistics.

"The response to that cannot be for the police alone, just as people cannot reasonably expect it to be something solely the responsibility of the council. A multi-agency approach has been adopted between the police, the Minister's office, other Government departments and community and family agencies. It is in this cooperation that we will see the most effective response to keeping our communities safe and dealing with the bad elements within it."

Ms King said Manukau City Council enjoyed an excellent partnership with the police and other agencies.

"This is good community with good people in it," Ms King said. "I would hate to see all of Manukau branded as unsafe or bad; that is simply not true. But what is needed is a whole of community response to incidents like these. We urge the good people of Manukau to stand up, be counted, be visible, and work with police and youth agencies. You are our best sources of information and knowledge on how to effectively deal with these issues at a community, youth and cultural level, especially in the medium to longer term."


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