Burglary and robbery offences have risen in the Western Bay, including a whopping 46.5 per cent increase in burglary victims, according to the latest crime data.

Statistics New Zealand figures showed robberies had jumped 11.5 per cent while in the year to August 31, 2016 there were also 1965 reported burglaries and unlawful breaking and entering, compared to 1341 in the previous 12 months.

Abductions and kidnappings were up 12.5 per cent and thefts and related offences increased by 4.7 per cent from 4851 to 5079 in the year to August 31, 2016.

Overall recorded victimisation rates had increased by 10.9 per cent.


Western Bay of Plenty area commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said police acknowledged that there had been an increase in the victimisation rates, particularly burglaries.

"This is of concern to police, especially as every victimisation represents a person in our community. Our staff are dedicated and working hard to turn this trend around as we know crime is often very invasive for those who experience it," he said.

Mr Paxton said police would continue to assess the needs of communities, which included analysing some of the latest statistics.

"We will take the appropriate steps to address the specific needs to combat any increase in crime, and continue the good work our staff are doing," he said.

Mr Paxton said that on August 29 police implemented a new policy whereby officers would attend all dwelling burglaries, which had been reclassified as a "priority" crime.

Police would undertake a 12-week review of the new policy to assess the extent of the change in "burglary victimisations", expected to take place in December, he said.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said he believed some of the increase could be put down to police "playing catch up" after years of the crime statistics being "manipulated" to make them look better.

"Back in 2011 the Government stated its goal was to reduce our crime rate by 25 per cent by 2017, but police can only achieve that target if they have adequate resources," he said.

"Judges also need to deliver sensible sentences . . ."

Mr McVicar said too many offenders received diversion, "alternative actions" and discharges without conviction which sent the entirely wrong message.

Labour's law and order spokesman Stuart Nash said that in May the Police Minister signed off on a four-year strategic plan which stated that there would be no increase in police numbers until 2020.

"The only way we can cut our rising crime rates across the country is to have more men and women on the ground, and more police patrolling our communities," he said.

"It's not rocket science. If police are now having to attend 100 per cent of dwelling burglaries, then they're having to be diverted away from other types of crime."

In written response to the Bay of Plenty Times, Police Minister Judith Collins said she strongly refuted any claim that the latest rise in crime statistics were in any way linked to "manipulated data".

"Police have robust systems in place to ensure crime statistics are as accurate as possible at the time of them being published . . . and routinely monitored the data," she said.

Ms Collins said the Government increased the police budget by $182m to fund 600 extra police, increasing the number of sworn officers from 8307 in 2008 to 8907 today.

"Police are working very hard to address the recent increases in crime, particularly around reducing the number of burglaries.

"As Police Minister, I am acutely aware that there are few things more important to people than having safe streets, safe homes and safe communities."

Ms Collins said she had been discussing this issue with police and her colleagues for some time.

"We're still working through the numbers but recently the Prime Minister confirmed that the Government is likely to increase the number of police."