The 16 criminals who caused criminal damage at Waikeria Prison over the last six days, the majority of whom were Australian deportee gang member thugs, need to be charged and held to account by the full force of the law.
This was not a genuine protest; it was not a genuine process of complaint. This was just 16 prisoners of the multiple hundreds being held at the prison, taking advantage of a circumstance to run criminal riot. A genuine protest does not include violence, assaults, threats, drug-taking, manufacturing of weapons or arson. This is unsolicited criminal behaviour, plain and simple.
Both the Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis and chief executive Jeremy Lightfoot have highlighted that the alleged complaints from these prisoners are utterly false, exaggerated, and any alleged issues were never voiced through any means before this.
The reason they are in prison is because they have broken the law, multiple times, and likely with extreme violence. Prison is not meant to be a holiday camp. Drinking the same 'brown water' as the Corrections officers do, having 'delays with clothing,' and 'not liking the graffiti' on the walls of the facilities is no justification for their violent, thuggish behaviour.
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These acts need to be met with the full force of the law. SST is calling on police to ensure they are held to account for their criminal actions and charged with every avenue that is possible. Ironically, these 16 prisoners' actions just highlight the very reason they are locked up in the first place and kept away from our community – and it should remain that way.
The incident in the Manawatū of yet another police officer being shot at will be the tip of the iceberg if laws do not get changed.
This is a culmination of years of inaction from consecutive governments across the spectrum of contributing factors that have created this perfect criminal storm - increased gang numbers, uncontrollable illegal gun markets, increased use of methamphetamine, and a total lack of respect for our men and women in uniform. If we don't dramatically change our laws to protect our officers there will be more who are attacked, shot and killed.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust backs the full arming of police and introducing minimum mandatory prison periods for those who assault police, and sentences with no chance of parole for those who murder a police officer on duty. We cannot continue to stand by and allow police to be confronted with increasing numbers of shooting incidents, increasing gang numbers, and increasing levels of drugs and violence. Something needs to change, or we will see more tragic outcomes.
The ultimate priority should be the protection and safety of our police officers, who are being placed in increasingly dangerous situations as part of their duty. We need to send a message to those criminals that we stand by our police officers. We need these laws to protect our protectors.