Sex case ramps up North crime rate: Police

By Kristin Edge

James Parker. Photo / File
James Parker. Photo / File

Northland bucked the national trend with a rise in recorded crime which police attributed mostly to the case involving former Pamapuria School deputy principal James Parker on sexual charges.

The national crime rate fell by 7.4 per cent in the last financial year, but crime statistics released yesterday for the fiscal year showed recorded crime in Northland rose by 2.3 per cent. A total of 15,490 offences was recorded this year, compared to 15,146 last year.

The number of recorded incidents dropped in 10 of the 12 police districts. Across the country, burglaries, theft, robbery and illicit drug offences fell, but sexual assaults and domestic violence rose.

Northland Police District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou said while recorded crime went up, the resolution rate rose to 53.9 per cent. One of the offences that led to the increase in recorded crime had been sexual assault.

"This can be attributed to the recent case in which former Pamapuria School deputy principal James Parker pleaded guilty to 74 sexual offence charges, representing in excess of 300 offences against young boys."

Parker was sentenced to preventive detention in August.

Mr Le Prou said the case gave people the confidence to come forward and Northland Police had received other complaints of sexual abuse since.

Assault, harassment and threatening behaviour, and breach of violence or non-violence restraining orders all increased.

Mr Le Prou said police were focused on holding offenders to account for all forms of violent or threatening behaviour.

"We recently produced, in conjunction with the Northland District Health Board, a DVD that tells the story of Whangarei woman Patricia McGrath, who died as the result of violence and the effect it had on her family and friends."

Mr Le Prou hoped the DVD would encourage violence victims and friends and neighbours to report incidents.

Dealing, cultivating and manufacturing illicit drugs decreased. Other offences to decrease included robbery, which was down by 27.4 per cent; burglary, down by 4.6 per cent; and theft, down by 6.1 per cent.

- Northern Advocate

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