Monday, June 24, 2024

Thousands of charges laid as Police crack down on youth crime

Police have made hundreds of arrests and laid thousands of charges for offending at retail businesses in Auckland and Waikato in recent months.

In Waikato, 205 offenders have been arrested a total of 307 times for ram raid and smash and grab style offending.

Overall, those charged are facing, or have faced, a total of 1,229 charges filed in the Youth Court, Police said in a statement.

This data relates to the period from 1 February to the end of September.

Further north, Police across Tāmaki Makaurau have arrested 142 youth offenders and laid 1036 charges since May.

Those charges across both regions relate to burglary, robbery and unlawful taking offences. In many instances, individuals have been charged with more than one offence and on more than one occasion.

Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers says these provisional figures show how hard Police staff are working to identify offenders and hold them to account.

“We know how tough it has been for retailers who are the target of this criminal offending. Some have been hit more than once and it’s having a huge impact on them.

“Police focus continues to be on working to try and prevent this type of offending and continuing to hold to account those responsible and place them before the Courts where possible.

“We know that what drives this offending is a complex issue that Police can’t solve alone, so we have also been working with other agencies on alternative resolutions for some of these young people. However, for repetitive offenders, we are taking a stronger stance.

“Police has opposed bail in many of these cases and we will continue to do so for recidivist offenders who pose a risk to business owners and our wider community,” he said.

Insights into offenders

Assistant Commissioner Chambers says there continues to be a small portion of young people committing offending and inflicting a large amount of harm on business owners.

“Police have acknowledged that in many instances people are being identified for offending at more than one location. The reasons why they continue to commit offending are varied and complex,” he said.

“There is ongoing work between Police and other partner agencies to further understand identified offenders’ backgrounds.

“For the vast majority they have been involved in some form of family harm and it’s almost certain many have been exposed to violence from a young age as either victims or witnesses.

“Their motivation continues to be money, peer pressure and social media notoriety for all the wrong reasons.”

Assistant Commissioner Chambers says many are not engaged in education and attendance at school is irregular or difficult to determine.

“We are supporting our partners, Oranga Tāmariki and Ministry of Justice as they work to try and address the drivers of this serious offending but Police’s role is very clear: we have an obligation to the community, and we will respond, investigate, apprehend, and hold people to account.”

He says that as part of Police ongoing prevention work, officers have increased foot patrols in malls and shopping precincts where possible to offer reassurance to businesses.

These will continue as part of normal deployment assessments and plans, the Assistant Commissioner said.

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