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Truancy Operation - Whangärei Police

Northland District Headquarters
Walton Plaza, Whangärei
Monday August 19, 2013

Truancy Operation

Whangärei Police will be pounding the streets over the next four weeks in an effort to reduce shoplifting incidences in the CBD and city supermarkets.

Operation Clean Streets 2 starts today and Police will be targeting young people who are truant from school, as they have been identified as among the main offenders for theft crimes in the CBD.

Youth Crime Unit Sergeant Daniel Cleaver says high levels of shoplifting continue to be an issue for Whangärei CBD.
Mr Cleaver says the main targets for thieving are the chain fashion stores and supermarkets.

"A large number of the identified offences in the CBD are being committed by youth who are truant from school or are not enrolled in any education."

Mr Cleaver says many of the stores are subject to repeat victimisation.

"This is costing them a lot of money and can be stressful for shop staff who have to deal with the thieves."

"Truancy in Whangärei is also a big problem, with some schools reporting up to 30 percent of their students being truant per day. The national average for unexplained absences is four percent per day."

Mr Cleaver says the operation is part of the Police focus on preventing crime and ensuring that there are fewer victims and less repeat victimisation.

"We want people to enjoy our city centre and these young people need to be in school or training where they are getting an education."

As part of the operation all Police staff will be highly visible on the streets and will be joined by Community Patrols, Maori Wardens and the Whangärei District Council's CitySafe partners.

"There will be a zero tolerance to any offending in the CBD and all offenders will be arrested rather than warned.
All truants will be returned to school."

Mr Cleaver says Police will be reviewing the operation as it nears the end to see how effective is, but will continue to speak with stores about what they can do to prevent shoplifting in the long term.
Police will also speak with schools about dealing with students are regular truants.


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