Editorial: We must all help bring fugitives in

By Andrew Austin

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Many of us feel a bit guilty when we cut someone off in the traffic or go through a pedestrian crossing when there is someone waiting on the kerbside.

There are, however, hundreds of people - 432 to be precise - in the Eastern Police District (Hawke's Bay and Gisborne) who have warrant arrests out for them and are evading police.

Official Information Act figures show that 129 are wanted for not showing up at court, 120 for driving offences, 43 for theft and related offences and 36 for acts intended to cause injury.

These figures are astounding. It is quite a sobering thought that there are so many people out there who are dangerous criminals on the run or lesser offenders who have such a callous disregard for the law. Now, I am not expecting every criminal to simply hand themselves over to the police. They are called criminals for a reason.

But one would think that if you had a relatively minor offence hanging over your head, you would want to face the music and get it over and done with. Having a warrant out for your arrest would surely result in a heavier sentence when you were caught.

The problem is that the more of these petty offenders who don't front up, the more work it is for the police. It is a waste of our police resources to be constantly on the lookout for them.

National crime manager Detective Superintendent Rod Drew said there were many different reasons for these offenders not appearing in court. "Sometimes it's simply poor organisation or a lack of discipline. There are people fleeing to evade justice.

"There are also those trying to delay the inevitable punishment by putting it off ... There is quite a wide range of reasons."

That is why it it up to the public to help police in locating these people. This paper will certainly play its part in printing the photographs of the people on the run. Hopefully, some of our readers will recognise them and tell police. The police website also has a new section where photographs of wanted people are displayed. This is an excellent idea and is apparently working very well.

The more wanted criminals wasting police time, who are caught and brought to justice, the better.

Let's help the police catch them.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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