Balanced approach promotes safer New Zealand

Mike Bush – Police-Media Partnership brings- Police Commissioner Mike Bush

My warmest greetings and congratulations to the Indian Newslink team for providing a quality news service to New Zealand’s Indian communities for 17 years.

This is a wonderful achievement to celebrate, and I wish you many more years of success.

The safety of all New Zealanders is vitally important to Police.

The mission of New Zealand Police is to ensure that New Zealand is the safest country and we are working hard to achieve this aspirational goal.

We want all communities to be safe and to feel safe, and have the trust and confidence in New Zealand Police to deliver the service that our communities deserve.

Fruitful partnership

From about 2003, New Zealand Police has been fortunate enough to have worked with Indian Newslink in providing crime prevention messages to help keep communities safe.

Since that time, New Zealand’s cultural landscape has changed rapidly, and like many organisations, we have adapted the way we work to respond to the growing needs of our ethnic communities.

At Police, we know that cannot succeed without working with our communities and partners.

I am proud of the work our Police Ethnic Liaison Officers do with our communities to build and maintain relationships, and bring a fresh approach to solving our crime issues.

I encourage young people in our communities to consider working for New Zealand Police as we want to be the best police service and having officers that represent our diverse communities is an important part of our future success.

Prevention First

In the last few years, Police has adopted the Prevention First operating model to prevent and reduce offending and victimisation through a balanced approach between punishment and rehabilitation.

Where prosecution is in the public interest and will be the most effective option, Police will prosecute offenders. However, wherever possible, Police are focusing on early intervention to prevent offenders from reoffending.

Crime prevention and investigation will always play a major role in what we do, but Police are now looking to use alternative resolutions that address the underlying causes of offending to reduce reoffending, reduce the numbers of victims, and result in better outcomes for the wider community.

Balanced approach

This balanced approach can stop the cycle of offending and prevent people entering the court system which can also create savings for taxpayers by avoiding expensive imprisonment costs.

However, alternative resolutions are not an easy way out. If an offender is not committed to an agreed plan of rehabilitative action, then prosecution action can be reinstated.

Gandhi Nivas cares

A good example is the early intervention and rehabilitation services delivered by Police and ethnic community organisations to change the lives of men and their families affected by family violence.

Led by Nirvana Health Care and Sahaayta Counselling Services, Gandhi Nivas (a home located in Otahuhu, Auckland) has been a national leader in providing temporary accommodation and specialist services to tackle family violence.

Initially established to support Southeast Asian men, the service is now available to all men in Counties Manukau communities.

Since inception about two years ago, Gandhi Nivas has helped more than 180 men with addressing underlying issues causing harm to themselves and their families.

A Massey University study reported that 93% of the men that undertook counselling through Gandhi Nivas have not reoffended.

We are working to replicate the service in other main centres, based on the success of the pioneering work at Gandhi Nivas.

Police has worked hard to earn your trust and confidence, and we will continue to work hard with your support, to apply our balanced Prevention First approach to reduce offending and victimisation and help New Zealand become the safest country.

Mike Bush is New Zealand’s Commissioner of Police based in Wellington.

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