I hope that everyone has had a happy New Year and thanks to those who stayed safe and looked out for one another.
It has been a busy holiday season for New Zealand Police, with a number of major events attended across the country.
The New Year is expected to be another significant one as we continue to work towards our mission for New Zealand to be the safest country.
Many of you will be aware of the recent heightened gang tensions.
Police are treating these incidents extremely seriously – the safety and wellbeing of the community is our priority.
We will hold those who act unlawfully and put the public at risk to account.
Following these incidents, we have increased the Police presence in the areas where we have seen issues, and we have stepped up our response.
We have seen some incredible work by investigators in the Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty over the past few days with multiple arrests and weapons seized including firearms.
The criminal and anti-social behaviour of gangs have a detrimental effect on communities, and their actions, lifestyle and a range of unlawful behaviour contribute to people feeling unsafe.
We are committed to targeting organised crime and have specialist teams working hard on this, such as the Gang Focus Unit introduced last year in Eastern District.
We also know that there are many factors at the heart of the gang issue – like poverty, health and educational issues, pressure from others, and drugs.
This is not a Police problem alone, and Police cannot be the only ones involved in the solution.
This is why we are working alongside community groups, Iwi, Councils, other government agencies and the gangs themselves.
We ask that people speak to us about anything that concerns them, so that we can help and respond. People can contact Police on 111 or 105, or give information anonymously through CrimeStoppers.
Armed Response Teams
The six-month trial of the Armed Response Teams (ARTs) in Counties Manukau, Waikato, and Canterbury is progressing well with each team making a real difference in their community.
For example, an ART recently responded to an event where they provided lifesaving first aid to an injured person while the area was made safe for ambulance staff.
Another team has successfully managed to gain entry to a property and talk down a female who was attempting to cause harm to herself.
As a part of the trial’s evaluation, we are interested to know what impact ARTs are having on the public’s feelings of safety.
Police will engage with members of the community and our partners to gain further insight on the perceptions held by the community on ARTs.
People are also welcome to provide feedback directly to Police at email@example.com(link sends e-mail).
Any decisions in relation to the team’s future will be made following a full evaluation of their effectiveness.
The New Police App
Have you downloaded our new App?
We have recently released a free Mobile App for Apple and Android devices to provide another way for you to access policing services, information, news and alerts.
Through the New Zealand Police App, you can read Police news and customise the alerts you receive, easily use the 105 online form to report any non-emergency situation to Police, and access our other online services.
The App is a part of a wider suite of work we are undertaking to ensure everyone in New Zealand, including our international visitors, can access policing services anywhere, any time.
I look forward to sharing with you some of our other initiatives in the near future.
Until next time, stay safe.
Mike Bush is Commissioner of Police, New Zealand. The above was a part of his New Year message.