Crimestoppers founder recognised in list

By Hayley Gastmeier hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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John Perham, the founder of Crimestoppers, has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. PHOTO/FILE
John Perham, the founder of Crimestoppers, has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. PHOTO/FILE

A Carterton man renowned for keeping New Zealand's communities safer has been recognised in the Queen's 90th Birthday Honours list.

John Perham is founder and chairman of Crimestoppers Trust, a charity independent from the police, which offers nationwide channels for people to provide information about crime while being guaranteed anonymity.

He has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to philanthropy and the community.

Mr Perham said he was "both humbled and flattered".

Crimestoppers had "effectively unlocked the opportunity for people who for a whole lot of reasons would not feel comfortable talking to police or authorities" about a crime.

He said "the fear of retribution" was commonly the reason that people who knew about criminal activity did not report it, and crime syndicates played on that.

"We all want to live in safer communities and have decent jobs and to care for one another -- it's basic human instinct. The bad guys try to make us fearful that if we identify what they're doing they'll come and get us. We [Crimestoppers] provide the confidence that they [callers] won't be identified."

Mr Perham said the service received three calls every hour, every day. Calls had been growing 3 per cent each month since Crimestoppers was set up in 2009, Mr Perham said.

"It's making a difference and demonstrates that New Zealanders do care. That's hugely important because it's helping people to make a contribution to things going on in the community that they would otherwise look away from."

Mr Perham has personally invested significant financial resources into the trust and has spent several days a week for the past six years driving support for the trust.

To create a funding line for Crimestoppers Trust he developed an Integrity Line commercial service where, for an annual fee, organisations can implement an anonymous whistleblower service for their staff, contractors and customers. Clients of this service include several government ministries, Auckland Airport, New Zealand Post and Housing New Zealand.

Mr Perham was also the driver behind the successful Safer Schools initiative.

Mr Perham, 74, is married to Amanda. They have two adult children and four grandchildren.

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