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Govt Caught Out On Crime Stats Blunder

Hon Tony Ryall
National Law and Order Spokesperson

10 March 2004

Govt caught out on crime stats blunder

The Government has been forced into a humiliating backdown over crime statistics released this week, says National's Law and Order spokesperson Tony Ryall.

"A press release from the Police Commissioner's office, approved by Police Minister George Hawkins, boasted of a one percent increase in non-cannabis drug offences. In reality, the actual figures show a massive increase of 24.8%," said Mr Ryall.

National contacted the Police Commissioner's Office yesterday, seeking an explanation of the official statement. The police then issued an official apology on behalf of the Government late last night.

"There has been a 116% increase in hard drug offences since 1999. That is hardly winning the war on drugs, as claimed on Monday.

"It defies belief that anyone could believe methamphetamine related crimes have only risen one percent. George Hawkins must be the only person in the country who doesn't know about the 'P' scourge throughout New Zealand.

"George Hawkins and the police both gave press conferences but neither corrected these figures. The New Zealand Herald was told that police were optimistic the problem was 'stabilising'.

"National is demanding an explanation of how such misleading information could have been approved by the Police Minister.

"The large increase in drug offences and violent crime is the work of criminal gangs. Until the Police are better equipped to smash these drug-dealing gangs then the crime stats will keep heading the wrong way," said Mr Ryall.

Ends

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