Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Crime up 53 per cent in some areas

Police Minister Judith Collins said long-term crime rates were down, and the Government was on track to meet its target of 20 per cent less crime by 2018. Photo / Doug Sherring
Police Minister Judith Collins said long-term crime rates were down, and the Government was on track to meet its target of 20 per cent less crime by 2018. Photo / Doug Sherring

On the rise
• 2973 more assaults, up 6.5 per cent
• 8676 more burglaries, up 13 per cent
• 351 more robberies, up 12 per cent
• In total, up 3.1 per cent across all crimes

Assaults, robberies and burglaries have risen up to 53 per cent in some parts of the country in the past year.

Labour is calling for more frontline cops to tackle the "big hikes" across the three crime categories, but the Police Minister maintains enough is being done.

When broken down to police regional and station levels, figures for the year to June 30 showed robberies rose by 53 per cent in the Canterbury Metro area, 47 per cent in Hawke's Bay and 40 per cent in Counties Manukau East.

There was a 32 per cent increase in serious assaults in Auckland Central, according to the Statistics New Zealand figures released on Friday.

Those rates compared with an overall national average rise of 3.1 per cent across all crimes, with 13 per cent more burglaries, 12 per cent more robberies and 6.5 per cent more assaults.

Labour police spokesman Stuart Nash said the increases showed the opposite of government claims of falling crime rates.

"These big hikes in violent crime are putting a huge stress on a police force who have been told there will be no staffing increases until 2020," he said, referring to the Police's Four Year Plan.

The documents show no forecast increase in staff at any level, with a slight decrease since the end of the 2015 financial year.

The regional figures were especially unsettling for Nash, whose electorate is Napier in Hawke's Bay.

"The police are being asked to do more with less and that is just not feasible, it does not work. How can you solve crime if you haven't had an increase in the number of police?"

Police Minister Judith Collins said long-term crime rates were down, and the Government was on track to meet its target of 20 per cent less crime by 2018.

"It is correct that there has been an upturn in crime over the short term, particularly around burglary," she said.

"Police remain committed to improving burglary resolution rates and reducing the number of burglaries."

She had "every confidence" that police were addressing the issue.

The Commissioner of Police, Mike Bush, was responsible for the deployment of resources, she said.

"[I] know that both he and his staff are working very hard to address the recent increases in crime, particularly around reducing the number of burglaries."

Collins referred to a police initiative, Operation Focus, that has been extended nationwide to tackle youth committing volume crimes. Police are also developing a new guide for responding to burglaries that will be rolled out next month and change burglaries to a high-priority crime.

The changes came after a Herald series revealed 164 burglaries went unsolved nationwide each day in the year to December 31.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 24 Mar 2017 02:54:57 Processing Time: 1227ms