Hawkins Fails Utterly On Burglary Pledge
ACT Police Spokesman Ken Shirley said today that Minister George Hawkins had failed miserably to deliver on his much hyped `tough on burglary' policy.
"Last year this Minister issued an edict to Police that they had to respond to burglary complaints within 24 hours as part of Government plans to, in the Minister's words: `ensure that burglary is treated as a serious crime'. In July last year the Minister issued a press statement claiming that burglaries were being responded to within 24 hours and that criminals `now know that if they commit a burglary, the Police will be hot on their trail'.
"However, the Police Association newsletter for December 2001 tells a very different story. It says the association `is aware of a three day wait for burglary victims' in Auckland. Such a wait means the trail of the criminal would be very cold indeed. If burglary rates really are going down, as the Minister tells us, why are people waiting so long to have their complaints attended?
"Unsanitised crime statistics have become difficult to obtain under this Minister. Members of Parliament wishing to receive crime and police statistics can no longer use the Parliamentary Library to request statistics from the Police Commissioner's Office but now have to ask the Police Minister's Office.
"It is clear that the Minister is attempting to control information that could be injurious to him. There used to be a team of statisticians in the Police Commissioner's Office, now there are only one or two. How can the people of New Zealand measure the effectiveness of this government's policies if no one is keeping count?"
"The level of manipulation the Minister has been engaged in raises serious constitutional issues. Too often the Minister has replied to my written questions stating that the statistics of the nature requested are no longer kept or are provisional. We live in a world of real time information. This is just not good enough.
"I challenge the Minister to say what the true situation is on burglary response times - and to ensure that the public is allowed access to clear, unsanitised Police statistics," Ken Shirley said.