Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Police relocated to Northland in wake of murders, crimes

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has announced four new cops for Northland. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Police Commissioner Mike Bush has announced four new cops for Northland. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Police are bolstering the numbers of officers in Northland after a spate of homicides and other violent offences there.

Commissioner Mike Bush has today announced four new staff for the region where at least four homicides have been committed this year.

There have also been a number of violent assaults and robberies - including three knife attacks in Kaitiai in one week of July.

However, the officers will just be relocated from elsewhere in New Zealand - meaning there will be fewer officers in other regions.

Last night, a 38-year-old man was in police custody today after his 77-year-old friend died from knife wounds.

Police said the older man was deceased at a Te Kao address when emergency services arrives, and exact charges were yet to be identified.

Two weeks ago, a man was charged with murder following a fatal stabbing in Kaitaia - the third knife attack in the town in a week.

In February, a man was arrested after the death of another man at a Church Rd address in Ngararatunua and on New Year's Eve another man was killed in Kaitaia.

Today, Bush announced the new officers would be moving north.

"There have been a number of homicides and other high profile incidents in Kaitaia in recent months, and that will obviously concern those who live there," he said.

"We're working closely with the community to ensure their needs are met and we're providing extra staff to assist."

It was "not unusual" for crime to happen in the same area, and these incidents were not related, he said.

"Having said that, we recognise that Northland Police have been kept busy investigating these and other incidents, and we're putting six extra staff into the district for 2016/17.
"Additional staff have also been provided to Northland as required this year, just as every police district can call for support whenever it's needed."

The announcement, in his Commissioner's Blog, comes after the Herald today revealed that there are fewer front line cops per New Zealander than there was five years ago.

There was one cop per 503 Kiwis last year, down from one per 488 in 2009, according to police data.

In the police's four-year plan to 2020, forecast staff numbers do not change despite projected population increases to about 4.8 million Kiwis.

Police have been approached for comment about what the new staff for Northland will mean for other communities, and a response will be added to this article when it is received.

- NZ Herald

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