Manukau City shop keepers need support
3 February 2007
Manukau City shop keepers need support to prevent further tragedy
Visible policing, improved Police response times, and a greater focus on community policing are three practical solutions that would assist and protect small shop keepers in Manukau City.
That is the message that dairy owners delivered this weekend to Manurewa MP Hon George Hawkins and Manukau City Councillor (Manurewa Ward) Daniel Newman.
“In dairy after dairy around Manurewa, the message is the same. The shop keepers feel disempowered and vulnerable to the actions of the criminals who threaten, steal, intimidate and vandalise private property. The plight of the shop keepers must be a priority for the Police because the shops are a focal point in the community and a place that is a common target for opportunistic criminals.
“I will be taking the dairy owner’s feedback to the Minister of Police and the Prime Minister early next week. This is a crisis issue that demands a strong response from our political leaders. I am confident that the plight of the dairy owners will not be ignored by the Cabinet,” George Hawkins said.
Mr Hawkins is pleased that Police Minister Annette King said she would discuss with the Commissioner the level of Police resources that are allocated to the Counties Manukau Police District, and how those resources could be better utilised.
Daniel Newman, who attended the funeral of Krishna Naidu on Monday this week, said that without changes to the way the Police worked with and alongside small shop keepers, future tragedies appear inevitable.
“The men and women behind the counter, who work 12 hour days, seven days a week, are telling us that theft, threats and intimidation, and even violence is becoming commonplace. Yet all too often the Police response has not been adequate. This has to change. We’ve already lost a magnificent young man to a mindless act of violence in a local dairy. We cannot afford to lose anyone else.
“I will be working with Mr Hawkins to convey the message that action is urgently required to target the criminals and protect innocent retailers and shoppers. I will also be taking that message to our local Manurewa Police and the Council,” Daniel Newman said.
Below is a summary of some of the stories and feedback provided to Mr Hawkins and Mr Newman by small dairy owners in Manurewa:
“We phoned the Police to report a group of people who were moving stolen goods in the parking area behind our dairy as the incident was taking place (approximately 8pm). The Police communications operator continued to ask questions for 10 minutes. The Police never came. The car was later found abandoned.”
“A teenage girl threatened my wife with a hammer. We phoned the Police, but they were delayed several hours. Eventually the Police came and caught the girl, who was breaking into cars in the area.”
“A man threatened my wife with a knife. In another incident a man came into the shop with a sawn off shot gun. After robbing and leaving the dairy he took off down the road. The Police arrested and charged the offenders of each incident. Both offenders were teenagers.”
“Before Christmas, three young guys came into the dairy and threatened the relieving worker with a knife. Fortunately the Police responded quite quickly on that occasion. The offenders were all under the age of 20.”
“Both adults and children regularly steal stock. It’s become so common that we don’t report theft to the Police. But the criminals are pretty bold. On one occasion a criminal ran around the counter and stole smokes. My wife has been the victim of an armed robbery.”
“A year ago the shop was burgled. We lost cigarettes and chocolates. Young people in youth gangs come into the shop and confront me, asking me what I would do if they took my smokes. A relieving worker has been whacked by a person wielding a hammer. He is now working elsewhere.”
“At the same time as Krishna Naidu was being murdered in Finlayson Avenue, the Police arrested a drunk and disorderly man who was causing problems in my dairy. They said the man would be held for 48 hours. Within a few hours the man had been released and was again trespassing in my dairy. The Police were useless. We received very poor service from them. When I phoned the Police the operator asked me what the man was wearing. I told her he was wearing the same clothes as earlier in the day, when they arrested him then. We have a constant problem of people stealing goods. One night, after a Diwali Festival, my family returned to our home at the back of the dairy. I was assaulted by four guys and blacked out. The Police came after two hours. On another occasion my son heard and spotted a group of young people who climbed up onto the roof of the dairy in the middle of the day to tag my Lotto sign. I doubt that we’ll stay. My wife wants us to sell the business.”
“Tagging is a real problem. We were the victims of a burglary on 10 October. The Police said we should talk to the security company. Footage of the burglary was given to the Police to assist them in catching the offenders. But nothing has happened since that footage was handed over to them.”
Please phone either Mr Hawkins or Cr Newman if you have any queries about these anecdotes.