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Upper Hutt Police Begin 'Operation Relentless'

Upper Hutt Police Begin 'Operation Relentless'

Wednesday this week marks the beginning of Operation Relentless, a blitz on criminals and a crackdown on crime in Upper Hutt.

Almost all Upper Hutt Police staff, including those normally tied up in management and administrative roles, will be abandoning their desk jobs to become 'operational'.

"If you have committed a crime, we are coming to get you. If you are planning to commit a crime, you are going to get arrested," says Acting Upper Hutt Area Commander Inspector Mike Hill.

"If your driving behaviour is not up to standard, you will be stopped and prosecuted. And don't even think about drinking and driving.

"Only criminals need to be concerned about the police," he says.

Upper Hutt Police will be bolstered by assistance from the Police Dog Training Centre in Trentham, police recruits on driver training and highway patrol staff. Some staff from Police National Headquarters in Wellington City will also be involved.

The operation has been modeled on a successful tactic used by the Avon and Somerset Police in the UK. It involves a succession of dedicated days of action, each against a particular type of crime.

For example, there will be days when police will be relentless on burglary and vehicle crime. Officers will be using overt and covert surveillance, home visits to known offenders, search warrants and other tactics.

On other days police will be relentless on violence, anti-social behaviour and alcohol abuse. Officers will be paying visits to licensed premises, there will be increased foot patrols, education on the new liquor ban and breath testing checkpoints.

"We will be cold calling on some of our at-risk family violence victims and offenders. If children are present, Child Youth and Family social workers will be with us.

"We will also be focusing on road policing. Most serious and fatal crashes occur on River Road (State Highway 2) from Silverstream to Te Marua. As well as the obvious speeders and drink drivers, we will be prosecuting for bad driving. Many of these people are not criminals, but a moment's inattention can change lives forever. Stay in your own lane and stop for red lights and you won't have a problem with us," says Inspector Hill.

Additionally he mentions if people have unpaid fines or a warrant for their arrest, it would pay to get these things sorted out sooner rather than later.

So what's the objective?

"We're out to catch more criminals, reduce crime, and reduce people's fear of crime by increasing confidence in the Upper Hutt Police.

"Sometimes people have the perception that crime is out of control. We want to give Upper Hutt people the real picture of crime and where it's happening."

Crime was down in Upper Hutt during 2006. For example, less burglaries are being committed than five years ago and police want to keep it that way, says Inspector Hill.

"We're hoping to further encourage partner agencies and the community to work with us to prevent crime so that we're working better together as a team."

The partner agencies involved in Operation Relentless include Child, Youth and Family, Corrections, the Probation Service and Collections.

"An obvious question on the tip of people's tongues will be: Why are the police not always relentless on crime? And why are these extra officers not always on the front line fighting the criminals.

"Days of action require additional staff who are normally performing other important roles critical to the functioning of Police," says Inspector Hill.

"Among the staff involved operationally are those who normally work in our intelligence section, youth aid, or in administrative and support functions."

Upper Hutt Police will be releasing results from Operation Relentless via news releases published on the Police public website.


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