Ag­gra­vated rob­beries cue po­lice talks

Scoop­ing a cou­ple of awards at the Wa­iata Ma¯ori Mu­sic Awards was a bonus for Kerik­eri mu­si­cian Troy Kingi. Read the full story on page 4.

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BAYLEY MOOR

Po­lice are con­duct­ing work­shops to help busi­nesses be pre­pared fol­low­ing a surge of high pro­file ag­gra­vated rob­beries in the Far North.

The first armed rob­bery safety sem­i­nar was held in Kerik­eri in Septem­ber, and po­lice aim to roll them out to busi­nesses in Kaikohe, Kawakawa, Mo­erewa, Pai­hia and Rus­sell later this year.

Mid and Far North pre­ven­tion man­ager Sergeant Haydn Ko­rach says the aim of the work­shops is to teach busi­nesses how to be pre­pared for a pos­si­ble armed rob­bery and what to do when con­fronted by shoplifters.

Ko­rach says busi­nesses should have plans in place for staff to fol­low in the event of an armed rob­bery.

They should keep calm, obey in­struc­tions, treat all weapons as real, and when they have an op­por­tu­nity, get to a safe area, then call po­lice, Ko­rach says.

‘‘We have seen some com­ments that peo­ple say they would fight them [of­fend­ers] off, we don’t want that to be the case. We want to en­sure they main­tain their own safety. We don’t want a rob­bery turn­ing into a mur­der.’’

In Au­gust, three of­fend­ers smashed their way into McDon­ald’s Kaikohe al­legedly armed with an axe and what ap­peared to be a sin­gle bar­relled shot­gun, be­fore or­der­ing staff to empty money into a bag be­fore es­cap­ing into the night.

Later that month, five teenagers were ar­rested for their part in point­ing a gun at staff at the Waipapa BP, where they stole to­bacco, the cash drawer and cho­co­late be­fore flee­ing in a stolen ve­hi­cle.

Charges have been laid against 1283 peo­ple around the coun­try for ag­gra­vated rob­beries, with charges against 43 peo­ple in North­land be­tween Jan­uary and Au­gust.

‘‘We had dis­cussed hold­ing the sem­i­nars be­cause we knew it was com­ing our way, with an in­creased num­ber of armed rob­beries around the coun­try, we knew there was a high chance of it hap­pen­ing here,’’ Ko­rach says.

‘‘We had just vis­ited a num­ber of busi­nesses and then the Waipapa BP and the McDon­ald’s [Kaikohe] got hit.’’

What do you think? Email jenny.ling@fair­fax­me­

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