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Hawkins tries to hide massive violent crime rise

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesman

23 February 2001

Hawkins tries to hide massive rise in violent crime

Police Minister George Hawkins chose 4.30pm on a heavy news day to dump Labour's shameful secret - violent crime has increased by a massive 5% in the first full year under the Labour-Alliance Government, National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall said today.

"The Police Minister was too gutless to front up to New Zealanders with the violent crime statistics so he delayed the release until a day when media would be too busy with other stories to give it much coverage.

"Nationwide, violent crime has increased by 4.8% in the year since Labour took office, up from 39,688 offences to 41,580 offences. In National's last year in Government violent crime decreased by 2% from 40,441 in 1998 to 39,688 offences in 1999. The previous year the increase was only 0.8%.

"Hawkins tries to justify his bad year as Police Minister by comparing his leap with outdated figures under National. That sort of selective comparison is ridiculous.

"On top of Mr Hawkins' questionable timing in the release of these statistics he is refusing to release district-by-district figures and crime breakdowns. He did it with the good news and now he is trying to hide the bad news. This Nixon-like approach is just outrageous. He is treating the public as fools.

"Mr Hawkins released full details of good news burglary statistics a few weeks ago in a blaze of publicity, but he kept the violent crime statistics back, waiting to bury them on an appropriate day.

"The increase in violent crime is completely predictable given the cutbacks to policing under Labour-Alliance. The number of police on the beat around New Zealand is running under what it should be. The police have no money and no leadership from their Minister.

"The National Opposition told the Government this would happen and they ignored us. While getting a reduction in burglary is important, it should not be at the expense of the victims of violent crime.

"The Minister should reverse the cutbacks to frontline policing so police can be properly resourced to fight all crime," Mr Ryall said.

Ends

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