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Crime Strategy Delivers Stunning Results

Prime Minister Jenny Shipley today said that "stunning" was the only way to describe the reduction in criminal activity in New Zealand.

"National's determined approach to crime reduction, with over 900 new frontline police since 1990, tougher penalties and a much improved police management system, send a clear message to New Zealanders: ' while others talk, National delivers on crime reduction and will do so in the future' ".

"Later today, the police will announce the crime statistics for the year ending June 1999 showing that the crime rate has dropped 3 percent, which is almost an 8 percent reduction since 1996. This is exciting news and continues the downward trend in crime rates around New Zealand under this Government."

Mrs Shipley said the initiatives the Government has put in place are having a real impact on crime.

"With more frontline police (500 in the last three years alone) and specialist 'hot spot' crime teams concentrating on problem areas, harsher penalties and more robust legislation, this Government is putting a real emphasis on fighting the causes of crime and punishing the criminals. It is clearly having good results.

"The reduction in recorded offences in Auckland City is particularly pleasing, down 6.5 percent. This puts paid to the public's perception that crime is rising, when it has been steadily declining since 1992.

"This week, several Ministers will undertake activities which will highlight National's continued commitment to fighting crime, punishing criminals, and rehabilitating offenders and breaking the cycle of criminal behaviour.

"Justice Minister Tony Ryall will address the Police Association Conference in Wellington, where he will outline the Government's strategy to tackle a major source of crime in our community.

"Later this week Roger Sowry is opening New Zealand's first Youth Justice centre. This is the first of three specialist youth justice units around New Zealand.

"Young offenders need secure facilities like the Palmerston North centre where they can get specialist help for problems at the root of their offending. These units will cater for young offenders who haven't been sentenced to prison, but require secure care.

"As well, Corrections Minister Clem Simich will open the Department of Corrections' new Hawkes Bay Youth Unit on Friday 15 October. This facility will keep young inmates whom judges have ordered to jail, separate from other inmates and give them a fresh start.

"These initiatives will help deal with the fact that too much crime is being committed by younger New Zealanders. In the past, judges had limited options to deal with the worst offenders. Thanks to this Government, back to the streets is no longer an option.

"National said it was committed to fighting crime when it first came to office in 1990 and we have done just that. We are the only party that has backed up its commitment to reducing crime with real action. Today's pleasing crime statistics are a result that every New Zealander can be proud of.

"I also want to congratulate the police who have made a huge effort during a major period of change for them to deliver this result," the Prime Minister said.

"National has gone to the cause of the problem and fixed it. We've sent a clear and determined message. We've delivered tough legislation and remedies which the Opposition has more often than not opposed," the Prime Minister said.

ENDS

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