School crime ini­tia­tive kicks off


A new ini­tia­tive by Coun­ties Manukau Po­lice aims to make schools and their sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties safer.

The School Watch oper­a­tion has just rolled out, with po­lice strength­en­ing re­la­tion­ships with school com­mu­ni­ties in re­sponse to bur­glar­ies of ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties across Coun­ties Manukau.

Se­nior Sergeant Jono Chap­pell says around this time of year po­lice see a spike in of­fences on school prop­erty.

‘‘As part of the ini­tia­tive we’re con­duct­ing area can­vases around schools in Coun­ties Manukau.

‘‘We’re go­ing door to door ask­ing the pub­lic about whether or not they’ve ever seen any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity in and around the school,’’ he says.

‘‘We’re ask­ing peo­ple to be our eyes and ears on ev­ery cor­ner, re­port­ing things so we can re­spond ef­fec­tively.’’

Po­lice are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to call 111, or Crimestop­pers anony­mously on 0800 555 111, to re­port any un­de­sir­able ac­tiv­i­ties.

‘‘If it doesn’t look right we’d rather you give us a call and let us in­ves­ti­gate, rather than do­ing noth­ing about it and some­thing hap­pen­ing,’’ Chap­pell says.

‘‘A lot of the time the pub­lic can let things go a bit and think it’s just kids play­ing or what­not.

‘‘We’re in­ter­ested in know­ing about that ac­tiv­ity be­cause what may seem pretty in­nocu­ous on the face of it could es­sen­tially be them da­m­ag­ing school prop­erty or break­ing into it.’’

Chap­pell says dam­age caused to schools ev­ery year costs hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in terms of items stolen or wrecked.

‘‘The most im­por­tant thing is the lost time for stu­dents. It can be quite dis­rup­tive for them if they show up at school and no­tice their prop­erty is miss­ing or they can’t take the ap­pro­pri­ate classes.’’

In­spec­tor Si­mon Walker says a cur­rent is­sue at schools in the dis­trict is the theft of speak­ers.

‘‘Any in­for­ma­tion from the com­mu­nity we can get on where those speak­ers are go­ing would be good. Also aware­ness from fam­i­lies of if their chil­dren are turn­ing up with these speak­ers at­tached to their bikes, or any prop­erty they shouldn’t have, to ques­tion it and con­tact us.’’

Chap­pell says the ini­tial roll­out of School Watch re­ceived a fan­tas­tic re­sponse.

‘‘The com­mu­nity is ex­tremely en­gaged and will­ing to help. They’re also re­ally keen and en­thu­si­as­tic in terms of start­ing up Neigh­bour­hood Watch.’’


Se­nior Sergeant Jono Chap­pell and youth and com­mu­ni­ties man­ager In­spec­tor Si­mon Walker.

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