Act plans crackdown on minor crime

By Amelia Romanos

File photo / APN
File photo / APN

Act is pledging a "Broken Windows" approach to tackling crime, with plans to target youth and minor crime.

Wellington Central candidate Stephen Whittington, Act's justice spokesman, today launched the party's law and order policy, which focused on five key areas, including low-level offending.

"This so-called 'Broken Windows' approach ensures that young people realise that criminal offending will have consequences," Mr Whittington said.

While the party was clear that it did not intend to lock up young people for relatively trivial offending, Mr Whittington said those caught by police needed to be processed by the Youth Court.

The party would also push for a review of police procedures with regard to self-defence and defence of property.

Liquor store owner Virender Singh, who was charged after fighting back with a hockey stick during an attempted robbery of his Auckland store in 2008, was held up as an example of how the current system was not working.

The charges against Mr Singh were dropped the following year, but Mr Whittington said today the case showed how the justice system was skewed against victims of crime.

"The police procedures surrounding the application of these defences must reflect the intent of the legislation - to enable people to reasonably defend themselves and their property without legal consequence."

Providing better access and incentives for criminals to undertake rehabilitative programmes was also on the party's to-do list.

"In respect of those who receive custodial sentences, the incentives to undertake the courses will involve an extension of non-parole periods if rehabilitation programs are not entered into or completed," Mr Whittington said.

Mr Whittington said home detention programmes would require more funding, but he said cost-savings over the longer term in lower recidivism rates would be substantial.

Act also wanted to reintroduce the Sentencing Council, and ensure reparation payments and large fines were repaid by enabling attachment orders against offenders' incomes.

- APNZ

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