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Wake Up, George

Wake Up, George

ACT New Zealand Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today called on Police Minister George Hawkins to wake up and take a reality check, in the face of police statistics showing that violent crime and drug use are on the rise.

"The New Zealand Police Crime Statistics 2002 report - released yesterday - contains damning evidence that the Government's assurances, that it is on top of crime, are false," Dr Newman said.

"How can Mr Hawkins continue to pretend that he is effectively cracking down on crime when the number of overall offences has risen 13,603 since 2001? Homicide, kidnapping and sexual offences are all up - as are drug offences, with police saying that increased use of the street drug methamphetamine is fuelling the rise in violent crime.

"The manufacture of the drug increased 300 percent last year, with police discovering almost 150 laboratories. Methamphetamine has now been linked to some of New Zealand's most brutal killings, as well as increased violence and aggression against police and hospital workers. With police drug squads understaffed and overworked, and drug test labs under resourced, the gangs are winning the drugs war.

"If New Zealand is ever to be a safe country again, the police must be given the resources and the mandate to adopt a zero tolerance approach to drugs. That means cracking down on gangs as well. This is the approach the Minister has successfully used on road safety, and I am calling on him to now use it on gangs and drugs as well," Dr Newman said.

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