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Crime Reduction Strategy Underway

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice

The Government has released for public consultation a new Crime Reduction Strategy which outlines priority areas for government and community action against crime.

The Strategy complements the Sentencing and Parole Bill introduced last month which establishes longer sentences for hard core serious offenders and the Bail Act passed last year which makes it more difficult for serious recidivist offenders to be bailed.

"The Strategy aims to prevent crime before it happens and to reduce reoffending," says Justice Minister Phil Goff.

"The tougher sentencing regime in the new legislation is necessary to protect the community against dangerous offenders. But reducing crime relies on having effective preventive policies that stop crime before it occurs.

"The proposed Strategy has seven priority areas:

· Family violence and child abuse;
· other violence including sexual violence;
· burglary;
· theft of and from cars;
· serious traffic offending;
· organised crime; and
· youth offending and reoffending.

"The new Strategy targets both high volume crimes and crimes which have a serious impact on victims and the community.

"The goal is a coordinated and coherent approach to crime involving not only central government but partnership with local governments and communities. The new Strategy is currently undergoing consultation with Safer Community Councils.

"To ensure its effectiveness, the Strategy requires specific plans and targets and proper evaluation.

"It will involve a three pronged approach:

· social initiatives needed to prevent the development of criminality among children and young people addressing the factors underlying offending through programmes such as early intervention and school interventions; · situational initiatives which design and deliver programmes to reduce the opportunity for, or incidence of, specific crimes such as burglary; · tertiary approaches which involve interventions after arrest to reduce the prospect of reoffending through programmes such as restorative justice and rehabilitation.

"Action is already under way in a number of key areas:

· the Task Force on Youth Crimes headed by Chief District Court Judge, David Carruthers, reports this November; · the Minister of Social Services is shortly to release a draft action plan on preventing domestic violence; · legislation is being drafted on expanding DNA use in relation to burglary suspects and new more effective laws making it harder to sell stolen goods.

"The new Strategy will incorporate this work, identify and expand best practice programmes and work to strengthen policies where any gaps are revealed," Mr Goff said.

A Ministerial Group led by the Minister of Justice and involving the Ministers of Education, Police, Child Youth and Family, Courts and Corrections has been Established to oversee the implementation of the Strategy. It met this week with Officials from the relevant agencies to map out the first steps that will be taken to Develop the Strategy.

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