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All Talk, No Action On Youth Crime - Again

28 August 2002

All Talk, No Action On Youth Crime - Again

Calling for more reports is not going to solve New Zealand's worsening youth offending problem, says National's Police spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"Phil Goff's rushed announcement on setting up around 30 teams to try and deal with youth offending says more about being 'seen' to be doing something, rather than actually doing it.

"This Government promised action on youth crime three years ago, but nothing's happened. All Labour's done is gloss over what the youth offending statistics really show.

"The fact is Youth Court work has tripled in the last decade as police prosecute teenagers in record numbers for serious violent crimes and property offences.

"Add to this the thousands of children too young for Youth Court who are breaking the law, and the scale of the problem hits home.

"Figures obtained by National show that police apprehended children aged 13 and under in 51,927 criminal investigations in the last four years. Burglary numbers for this age group have reached a record high, apprehensions for drug offences climbed 62 percent and violent crime reached a high of 1154 offences.

"Government Ministers just sit on their hands until a bunch of bad headlines comes along and jolts them into doing something.

"National wants to tackle the problem of youth crime head on. We want young offenders to face up to their actions and the key to this is early intervention, reinforced with programmes to build self-esteem and confidence, and help to get young offenders back on the right track," says Mr Ryall.

Ends

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