Police have confirmed they will have an active involvement in Hawke's Bay gang methamphetamine rehabilitation project Kahukura.
A statement says police are not involved in day-to-day running of the programme, which targets Mongrel Mob members and families and has attracted funding of $2.75 million over the next four years from the Proceeds of Crime Fund.
But the statement says police will "present to each intake of participants on family harm through the victims' perspective, with a key emphasis on healthy whānau relationships."
Ministry of Health group manager – addiction Richard Taylor told Hawke's Bay Today
Kahukura is designed to address drug-related harm amongst a group of Mongrel Mob chapters known as the "Chaindogs", and their families.
"Acceptance into the programme is based on would-be participants' desire to address drug use," he said. "All participants are screened to assess motivation to address their methamphetamine use."
A live-in mārae-based programme, and able to include participants participating as directions of sentences in court, it uses a mix of Te Āo Māori and western methodologies, Taylor said.
"It aims to address drug-use and trauma, instil better coping mechanisms, and prevent relapse," he said.
It is a 10-week course, with eight weeks of live-in programme and two weeks of intensive reintegration, followed by "wrap-around support" for six weeks.
The police statement says Police recognise the need to work with different groups in our communities to develop lasting solutions that will reduce harm.
"In 2021, funding from the Proceeds of Crime Fund (PoCF) was granted to H2R (Hard2Reach) Research and Consulting to deliver the Hawke's Bay Chaindog Community Methamphetamine Rehabilitation Initiative – Kahukura (Kahukura programme).
"Police supported Ministry of Health's application to the PoCF and it is clear that the programme has strong support locally," the statement says.
The programme offers support services to hard to reach groups and the aims and outcomes of the programme set out to meet a number of challenges that are evident within the Hawke's Bay environment.
On an ongoing basis, Police will have a role in supporting the management of offenders participating in the programme. This will include people who have been directed to Kahukura by the Courts as part of their sentence or those on bail that require court-directed bail checks.
The controls come as no surprise to gangs liaison specialist Denis O'Reilly, who has no involvement in the project nor professes any great knowledge of it, but who congratulates those who have made the decision to try something different.
"We know in the criminal justice system as it is, that we have this high rate of recidivism, and we know that the war on drugs, like most wars, is a waste of time and just produces collateral damage," he said.
"So, good on those decision-makers who have been prepared to go against the political wins and try and do something different."
"The departments won't have signed-off on this just on a willy-nilly basis," he said. "It'll have performance measures and it will require people who have a proven track record,
"There will be specialists in there delivering the programme and working with people," he said. "They may or may not have gang affiliations."
"What they are likely to have are qualifications and certain skills and capability to help people be led through change," he said.
"So I'm sure that there are plenty of controls, fiscal controls, performance controls, and money will be paid out on a performance basis. I don't think this a free-for-all."