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West Coast Launches Resilience To Organised Crime In Communities Work Programme

The West Coast is one of three new locations to launch the Resilience to Organised Crime in Communities (ROCC) Work Programme in 2024. An official launch was held at the EPIC centre in Westport on 7 June, with Associate Minister of Police, the Honourable Casey Costello formally announcing the expansion of the initiative to Te Tai o Poutini West Coast.

ROCC is an initiative supporting and enabling communities to respond to locally identified harms and social conditions associated with organised crime.

On the West Coast, the ROCC Work Programme is supported by a local multi-agency leadership group, chaired by West Coast Regional Public Service Commissioner, Craig Churchill, in partnership with Police represented by District Commander, Superintendent Tracey Thompson.

“The West Coast ROCC work programme aims to ensure local, tailored, social intervention will complement enforcement action, bringing about lasting change for communities here,” Mr Churchill said.

The ROCC Work Programme has three key focus areas which are all priorities for West Coast communities:

Those at risk from engaging in, or being the victims of, organised crime Persons impacted by methamphetamine and its associated harms Rangatahi (youth) on the pathway into organised crime (and their families) As Superintendent Thompson summarised; “It’s about addressing the harm in the community we are seeing caused by methamphetamine, and the effect it has on our youth and whānau. While Police provide an enforcement response, through ROCC coming to the West Coast, holistic support and restorative processes will help address the root cause of offending. ROCC is a positive programme to support our communities and whānau to thrive”.

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A phased regional workplan for the West Coast has been developed, drawn from local aspirations following recent community engagement by agencies. Driving the implementation of the Work Programme, a local ROCC leadership group has been established which includes: Iwi – Poutini Ngai Tahu, New Zealand Police, Ministry of Social Development, Ara Poutama – Department of Corrections, Ministry of Justice, Te Whatu Ora – Health NZ, Oranga Tamariki, Ministry of Education, District Council Mayors (Grey, Buller and Westland).

Minister Costello announced the ROCC Work Programme includes $2.6m of funding for the West Coast over the next two years (Via the Community Resilience and Whānau Support (CRWS) Fund). A local commissioning panel will make decisions about the distribution of funds to regional services engaging with the programme.

“Funding will support successful existing programmes and seek to address any perceived gaps in services, thereby improving access to support for communities and vulnerable whānau,” Mr Churchill said.

The West Coast ROCC Work Programme will build off the significant work undertaken in the past three years by the Methamphetamine Impact Group which facilitates a navigation service for people seeking assistance with methamphetamine addiction on the Coast.

The ROCC Work Programme – Background Information

New Zealand Police define organised crime as planned and systematic criminal activity by a group of 3 or more people to gain profit, power or influence. While gangs are the most visible face of organised crime in New Zealand, the true scope, diversity and influence of criminal organisations is broad.

To address the changing nature of organised crime and the associated harms, two, multi-agency initiatives were developed forming an end-to-end response:

Transnational Organised Crime Strategy (TNOC) which focuses on the supply end and international context of organised crime. Resilience to Organised Crime in Communities (ROCC) which focuses on the demand end in local communities, combining social interventions with enforcement. The ROCC Work Programme enables each unique community to respond to locally identified harms and social conditions associated with or exacerbated by organised crime.

Locations for the Work Program are chosen balancing where the need and harm is seen to be highest; where delivering the work programme has the greatest potential to reduce harm; where existing community organisations are already in place and can be further supported.

The Work Programme has already been launched in Hawke’s Bay, Wairoa, Tairāwhiti, Ōpōtiki, Kawerau, Whakatāne, Invercargill, Gore, Mataura and Counties Manukau. In 2024 work begins on the West Coast, Northland and Porirua with establishment to be completed in 2025.

The programme is supported by local multi-agency leadership groups. With a common goal, strong engagement with social sector agencies, relationships and collaborations with partner agencies, effective referrals, and reduced challenges for communities in navigating the public sector, any door can be the right door for people seeking help, thereby breaking down the social conditions that organised crime exploits.

Although varied in approach, underlying objectives underpin the implementation of ROCC across the country: target the supply of illicit drugs through law enforcement; reduce harm from organised crime; strengthen whānau wellbeing and community resilience; enable communities by removing barriers to evidence-based decision making.

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