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Crime statistics steady

3 April 2006

Crime statistics steady

Police have performed well in keeping in check the levels of recorded crime in the past year, says Police Minister Annette King.

Ms King said a number of factors, such as population increase, a growing market in methamphetamine, and more people aged 15 to 24 because of the 'baby blip' in the early 1990s, had all made an increase in recorded crime likely.

"But this hasn't happened. While there was a small increase (0.3 per cent) in the total number of offences in 2005, the rate per head of population actually dropped 0.6 per cent. That is excellent news. What we are clearly seeing at the moment is a static period after the amount of recorded crime fell steadily in recent years."

Ms King says she is concerned by the increase in reported cases of family violence in the Counties-Manukau district particularly.

"Police cannot prevent family violence by themselves. The whole community needs to work on this issue. The recent domestic violence hui in Auckland is a good example of that happening, but I intend to follow up on that by meeting community leaders in South Auckland to galvanise still greater action. "The impact can clearly be seen in demands on police in Counties-Manukau. Last year family violence cases made up 42 per cent of emergency response calls. Five years ago they only made up 21 per cent. It is encouraging that more people are contacting police, and we can now see just how bad this problem is.

"Waikato has also shown an increase in categories like dishonesty and violence, with reported crime at a similar level to 2003 after a drop in 2004, but Waikato police are also resolving a greater number of cases, and are working proactively with the community to combat violent crime, particularly family violence."

Ms King says the Government's commitment, with New Zealand First, to recruit 1000 more frontline staff and 250 non-sworn staff over the next three years would certainly help in continuing to develop a strategic approach toward policing.

"This will help police target crimes such as burglary and car offences, make in-roads into organised crime, be a far more visible deterrent, and also help them respond more quickly to emergencies. But the bottom line is no matter how many resources we put in, and that's happening at an unprecedented rate, police will always need community help to make New Zealand as safe as we want it to be.

"The dominant message for me from the 2005 crime statistics is that the New Zealand Police are doing their job very well, but we must give them all the support we can at a government, local government, community and individual level."

ENDS

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