This Government is committed to building a New Zealand where people feel healthy, save and happy in their homes and communities and, as Police Minister, my top priority is the safety of our communities.
That is why this Coalition Government is striving to increase Police numbers by 1800 Police Officers and 458 employees over three years.
Single largest investment
This is the single biggest investment in Policing in New Zealand’s history and will allow Police to make real inroads into crime prevention in order to reduce victimisation, lower reoffending and bring down imprisonment rates.
We are well on track to achieving this goal with 862 new constables graduating from the Royal New Zealand Police College since the Government was sworn in on October 26, 2017.
We all know that our largest population centres in the big cities have high needs for community safety and crime prevention. This investment will provide a significant resource boost to our cities, as well as smaller regions and provinces.
This investment will support safer communities by tackling organised crime which is the driver of too much harm to society.
We are also investing in crime prevention, putting steps in place to reduce the likelihood of crime being committed in the first place.
I know community safety is a concern for many of your readers and I assure them, as Minister, their safety is one of my key focuses.
I know one particular area of concern for your readers is the increase in aggravated robberies, and the violence that goes with these crimes, on small business owners.
I am just as concerned by this cowardly behaviour and this is why I have been working closely with Police on crime prevention strategies.
That is why earlier this year, I announced a revised version of the previous government’s funding and increased the subsidy for fog cannons as a prevention tool.
Since then, more than 330 fog cannons have been installed in small businesses nationwide.
Aggravated robberies, quite rightly, cause significant concern among small business owners who feel vulnerable and who feel less supported to take preventative action. We know items such as cash, cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol have long been a targeted commodity for thieves.
Police intend to continue with the initiative to help vulnerable members of our communities be safe and feel safe.
This initiative complements other work under way across Police to prevent this type of crime and the social and economic impact it has on businesses and our wider communities.
Fog cannons work
You may be aware that the aim of fog cannons is to deter offenders and prevent harm to potential victims. Fog cannons work to keep staff safe despite the presence of weapons, and limiting property loss.
Police have seen a number of incidents recently where fog cannons have worked exactly as intended. They provide a barrier between the staff and the offender and reduces the amount of property stolen and helps staff avoid any injury.
The fog cannon initiative complements other low cost changes business owners can make to their store layout to make it a less attractive option for thieves.
This includes making sure windows are clear, installing CCTV cameras and ensuring that the staff have visibility of the store, i.e. no high shelves. More information for business owners is available on the Police website (www.police.govt.nz)
Police will also work with victims of aggravated robbery and other theft crimes to help them put steps in place to reduce their chances of being victimised further.
I encourage any small business owner who wants advice on how they can keep themselves safe in their store, to contact their local Police.
StuartNash is Police Minister of New Zealand.
- Police Minister Stuart Nash
- Police Minister Stuart Nash with Governor General Patsy Reddy and a graduate at the graduation ceremony of 79 new Police officers at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua on July 26, 2018 (Picture Supplied)
- Stuart Nash with (now Justice Minister) Andrew Little and Labour MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan