Dylan is the deputy editor of the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Take on figures causes unease

I was concerned at the police association's reaction to news more than 300 wanted Bay of Plenty and Coromandel suspects are on active arrest warrants.

Eight of these have been outstanding for at least nine years. The association's regional director, Wayne Aberhar, says tracking down these criminals is a matter of resources and police have to prioritise their jobs.

He says the majority of people with outstanding warrants would be facing minor offences.

He is correct the most common offences include breaching bail, traffic and vehicle offences and theft but some of these alleged offenders are also facing charges involving serious violence and sexual offending.

National manager of criminal investigations Detective Superintendent Rod Drew said anyone on an active warrant for a serious offence was of concern for police.

I suspect Mr Aberhar's view is pragmatic and formed by working at the coal face. We all know that police resources are stretched and that police can only do what time and money allows.

We can understand it but but it is staggering so many people are able to blatantly flout the law and enjoy their freedom.

New welfare reforms introduced in July mean welfare recipients who fail to clear outstanding arrest warrants within 38 days can now have their benefits stopped, or halved if they have children.

About 8000 beneficiaries have arrest warrants nationally.

No doubt, given the number of people flouting the rules, police are pinning their hopes on this law change as a possible game-changer.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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