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Police priorities questioned after Hain Ave Hikoi

28th September 2008

Police priorities questioned after Hain Ave Hikoi

In the wake of the slaying of the Police Officer whilst working covertly in Hain Ave, Mangere, concerned residents of the area held a march through the streets on Saturday (27th September) to call for increased community awareness of crime and to talk about solutions.

Christine Davey, Sensible Sentencing Spokesperson on Drug Issues was at that meeting, and was surprised to learn that the house under surveillance had been known to the Police for 2 years.

Also surprised to hear this was the local Police Sergeant who attended this meeting - but he conceded that there were many branches of the Police and they didn't share information with one another.

This begs the question, "How safe are we in our communities, when some branches of the Police suspect that criminal activity may be occurring in our neighbours houses and do nothing about it?" It could just have easily been an innocent neighbour looking for his dog at night, who ended up being shot instead of the Policemen on his covert operation.

And "why are children allowed to continue living in houses where Police suspect a P lab?" If this P lab has now been discovered, the children in that house were at extreme risk from toxic substances - and yet this covert surveillance would have gone on for months.

In May this year Annette King stated that "the authorities are struggling to win the war against P". Ms Davey came away from that meeting with a strong feeling that the local Police are not struggling - they have become completely desensitised to the issue of P in families and now ignore it.

They saw no benefit in coming to talk to family members at parent request, when drug use had become evident - they were too busy dealing with bigger crimes - crimes that might have been avoided if the offender's anti-social behaviour had been intervened with at the beginning, by a visit from a Policeman showing support for the parents.

Given that the objectives of NZ's National Drug Policy are " to prevent or delay the uptake of drugs, reduce drug-related harms, make families and communities safer and reduce the cost of drug abuse to individuals, society and government", one can only assume that no-one has brought this to the attention of our Police.

As we approach the next election, Ms Davey urges NZers to ask themselves which Party is going to acknowledge the personal cost to families affected by P use, and provide us with real solutions to this very real problem. We certainly aren't getting that now.

ENDS

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