Hope­fuls prom­ise more po­lice

Western Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - TORIKA TOKALAU

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.

STUFF

Crime was seen as an im­por­tant is­sue for west Auck­land with a high num­ber of drug raids and bur­glar­ies of dairies.

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