Hawke's Bay's Most Wanted

By MORGAN TAIT


A man alleged to have repeatedly shot at people and another who threatened to kill someone are among Hawke's Bay's 18 most wanted criminals.

The online list of Most Wanted for the Eastern Policing District is just a snapshot of "drawers full" of files for offenders involved in violent crimes, burglary, bail and community work breaches, shoplifting and undisclosed matters.

Hastings Police Senior Sergeant Bob Gordon said the local website, which along with the Wellington region has been piloting the initiative for the past five months, had given authorities extra eyes in the community.

"It all helps and we have had some successes," he said. "It is just one of a number of things police are doing [to catch wanted criminals]."

The online list yesterday displayed information for 18 wanted people at large in the Eastern policing district - including Warren Tarawa, 33, sought for allegedly twice shooting at people. The man is described as a 1.79m tall Maori of medium to solid build who uses a number of aliases, including variations of George Tarawa and Warren Palmer.

Also sought was Christopher Rehu for allegedly making threats to kill. The 29-year-old was described as 1.7m tall of medium to solid build. Both men were dangerous.

Other suspects were wanted for crimes including burglary, breaching community work and curfew, and shoplifting.

However, Mr Gordon said those listed were only a drop in the bucket of people police were looking for.

"We have drawers full of them. There's a lot of people who are wanted for failing to appear in court, breaching supervision or their parole, right down to financial matters that can eventually escalate."

Hawke's Bay police also had their own Facebook page, where wanted people were often posted and identified.

"Most of these people eventually do get caught, and will find that actually going to get it sorted out on their own terms will be easier rather than us catching them and locking them up in the holding cells until they can appear in court."

Despite being hailed a success, the website drew criticism this week from Labour's police spokesman Kris Faafoi, who said it was ridiculous that the Most Wanted site was not yet rolled out nationwide.

"The rollout is three months overdue now and it hasn't lived up to the hype," he said. "It got launched with much fanfare and the frontline officers were very excited, and so they should have been, but it hasn't been rolled out as far or fast as it could."

Budget pressures were interfering with achieving outcomes, he said.

Police chief media adviser Grant Ogilvie said the site was a pilot and a full national rollout would take place soon.

"The site has worked well and, based on experience from the pilot, police are now fine-tuning its structure and developing formal guidance to staff for its use, plus providing tools to assist staff before extending to a national rollout."

The full list of wanted criminals can be viewed at http://www.police.govt.nz/wanteds and the police can be informed by calling 111 (if you can see the person), by phoning local police on (06) 873 0500, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- Additional reporting APNZ

- Hawkes Bay Today

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