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Give The Public Dollars If It Means Justice Sense

Media Statement
For immediate release
Monday, 24 January, 2005

Alexander: Give the Public dollars if it means justice sense!

"Getting the public involved in helping police 'crack' a case is an old but good idea," said United Future Law and Order spokesman Marc Alexander.

This follows news that The Sensible Sentencing Trust has launched a nationwide appeal to raise funds to enable a sizeable reward to be offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of Hawkes Bay farmer Jack Nicholas.

"Though some in the public might be a bit apprehensive about offering a reward for information that leads to convictions, it has worked overseas very successfully. Apathy and an unwillingness to get involved always work in favour of criminals but if money can raise our helpfulness to police or pit offender against offender, then so much the better."

"Although this is a one-off situation for the Trust there is good reason for the us to copy the effective Crime Stopper programme which they have in Australia. It's a 7-day-a-week hotline for receiving anonymous information about criminal and unlawful activities."

"The incentive for callers is to reward them for information resulting in an arrest with the caller being identified only by a unique code number. There are rewards up to $1000!"

These rewards are payable upon conviction from community contributions administered by a community board. In use is a points-rated scale to determine the size of the reward based on the nature of the offence. In the ten years the operation has been running there have been 217,282 calls resulting in 3,879 arrests with a total of 10,393 charges being laid with just over $4.06 million worth of property and $27.5 million worth of drugs recovered. 391 rewards have been paid totalling $159,425.

"People shouldn't need a financial incentive to come forward but the fact is it works. In the case of Jack Nicholas we have a callous cold blooded killer on the loose and somebody must know something that will assist the police. If a reward will tempt that person to come forward and make the difference between an early capture or a protracted and costlier police effort, then why not?"

Ends


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