Hopefuls promise more police
The Te Atatu electorate candidates agree that police need more funding to help curb crime.
Green Party’s Golriz Ghahraman, Labour Party’s Phil Twyford and National Party’s Alfred Ngaro have strong views on crime for the west Auckland electorate.
Labour had promised to put 1000 new police officers on the beat, most of whom would be based at local police kiosks.
‘‘It’s about having police who know the local community on the ground keeping an eye on things and preventing crime before it occurs,’’ Twyford said.
He questioned why police recruitment was frozen for eight years by the Government, ‘‘while the city had a massive population increase’’.
‘‘Methamphetamine is cheaper and more available than ever before. And we’ve seen too many cases of teenagers brutally attacking and robbing dairy owners.’’
But he believed that it wasn’t just police that needed an increase in funding but other services which worked alongside the justice system like community policing, dole for apprenticeships and communitybased initiatives. Ghahraman had a similar view. She said services like mental health, drug and alcohol facilities also needed a funding increase ‘‘to ensure crime is both addressed and prevented in the future’’. Ghahraman, a human rights specialist, said she saw first hand the devastating effects of underfunding in the criminal justice system.
‘‘We need to invest in people in order to address the root causes of criminality,’’ Ghahraman said.
‘‘Things like homelessness, lack of professional training and apprenticeship programmes for young people contributing to growing youth unemployment, all contribute to crime.’’
National’s Ngaro, however, insisted there was an overall drop of crime of 14 per cent and a 34 per cent drop in youth crimes nationwide. He said west Auckland’s crime rate was lower than other central and east Auckland districts.
‘‘But of course, there is always room for improvement particularly in the most common crimes to affect the west – traffic, theft and public order offences,’’ Ngaro said.
He said the National Party promised to increase police staffing, including an additional 73 police officers for the Waitemata district.
Crime was seen as an important issue for west Auckland with a high number of drug raids and burglaries of dairies.