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Time to Crack Down on Teen Violence

Media Release

17 January 2008

Time to Crack Down on Teen Violence

The government, police and judiciary must crack down on violent youth offending, which is clearly increasing to epidemic proportions, says New Zealand First law and order spokesman Ron Mark.

His comments follow two separate attacks on Auckland’s North Shore, allegedly committed by three teenagers armed with baseball bats. Four people are in hospital with serious head injuries.

“It comes as no surprise that one of the accused is just 16 and has been sent to the Youth Court, which means that his eventual sentence will bear no proportion to the severity of the offending or his past record,” said Mr Mark.

“The force and frequency of violent offending by teens has increased and caused alarm among the youth justice agencies behind closed doors, yet for reasons of their own they continue publicly to promote the system as a world leader!

“The government’s proposed amendments to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act to extend the definition of a ‘youth’ upwards to anyone under 18 will simply allow even more teen thugs to avoid the serious consequences of their crimes,” said Mr Mark.

He pointed out that there are now large numbers of teen gang members roaming the streets of the main centres and that there is a subculture of violence and criminal offending.

“These teenagers are thriving on a diet of alcohol and drugs and their main entertainment is playing violent video games before they head on to the streets looking for trouble.

“The police should be given the all-clear to break up these gangs, impose curfews as necessary and give the streets back to ordinary New Zealanders,” said Mr Mark.


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