Thursday, June 13, 2024

Police to increase presence in crime hot spots

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Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says police have an obligation to the community to respond, investigate, apprehend and hold people to account. Photo supplied

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has announced police will have an increased presence and visibility in areas experiencing the most harm from serious retail crime.

They’ll also broaden a gang-focused operation to intensify efforts to target prolific offenders, he says.

The move comes a week after a worker was killed during an alleged robbery of an Auckland dairy.

The man’s death led to strong public criticism of the Labour Government for being “soft on crime” and protests by dairy workers across the country.

“We understand any incident that involves violence impacts the feelings of safety for business owners, families, friend and the wider community,” Coster says.

“Our staff continue to work very hard to respond, investigate and hold those who cause this harm accountable for their actions.

“Those districts most affected by retail burglaries and robberies have already demonstrated a strong focus on apprehending offenders, having increase visibility in their community, and working with other Government agencies to address the broader social issues associated with this offending.”

Coster says police will also further sharpen a focus on reducing such harm in the community.

Where possible they’ll have more foot and vehicle patrols in shopping precinct areas where there’s been an increased number of reports.

“This is to offer reassurance to businesses and our communities that may be feeling unsafe following recent events.

“These will continue as part of our normal deployment assessments and plans.

“There’s no doubt the recent tragic death of [dairy worker] Janak Patel in Sandringham has impacted our communities, including our staff who are working hard to support retailers.

“Every day, police assess where we best focus our deployment of staff and this will always be based on areas seeing the most harm.”

Coster says to address broader issues police are supporting their partner Government agencies as they work to try and address the drivers of serious offending.

“But police’s role is very clear. We have an obligation to the community and we will respond, investigate, apprehend and hold people to account.

“We know that what drives this offending is a complex issue that police can’t solve alone, so we have also been working with other agencies on alternative resolutions for some of these young people.

“However, for repetitive and adult offenders, we are taking a stronger stance.”

Coster says it’s with that in mind and the success of recent national police operations such as Operation Cobalt, which has a focus on disrupting unlawful gang behaviour, the new approach will continue into the New Year.

“In addition to our efforts to target gang criminal activity, I have instructed that Operation Cobalt be broadened to also focus on those offenders that are causing significant and repeated harm.

“This includes those using stolen vehicles and threats of violence with weapons to seriously impact people’s livelihoods and sense of safety.

“Operation Cobalt, which was due to end in December, will now continue into the New Year.

“Police continue to urge members of the public to keep reporting incidents and suspicious behaviour to police.

“Anyone who needs police urgently should call 111.”

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