A senior Hawke's Bay police officer focused on busting organised criminal groups has publicly criticised Government funding of a drug rehabilitation programme being led by the Mongrel Mob.
In a letter published by the Police Association magazine, the supervisor in the region's Organised Crime Unit spoke of his frustration at the controversial $2.75 million funding of the Kahukura programme from the Proceeds of Crime Fund.
The programme is being run by Hard2Reach, of which Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam is a director, at Tapairu Marae, outside of Waipawa. It also involves Sonny Smith, a Mongrel Mob leader who lives in the area, and his wife Mahinaarangi Smith.
In his letter, Detective Sergeant Mark Moorhouse said he needed to "call BS" on claims by politicians the programme had been supported by local cops: "the bulk of us don't support it".
He was approached by Hawke's Bay Today but declined to comment further.
"My gang-focus staff have for the past two years fought tooth-and-nail to confront the violence and insidious harm the Mongrel Mob, in particular, have unleashed in our community," the letter stated.
"More than 30 gang-related shootings in the year to date, and they openly flaunt the wealth they generate from the poison they infuse our communities with."
He said police were undermined by the courts and poorly served by the justice system, with a lack of support from Police Minister Poto Williams.
"Corrections is a mess and we're not sure anymore who runs the prisons."
The only job satisfaction he'd had this year was the seizure of "huge amounts of firearms, drugs and assets" which had impacted organised criminal groups, he said.
"Now you want to tell us that nearly $3 million worth of our blood, sweat and tears is going to be allocated to a scheme that only allows the individuals who are responsible for causing the harm to be enrolled in it, to the detriment of more worthy causes, and then tell the country that the Hawkes' Bay Police support it."
While he supported genuine rehabilitation and funding to professional groups who provide it, he said it was "too much to ask" him as a police officer to support those who cause the harm having any influence on the programme.
"I have seen no evidence from any gang of their leaders that they wish to distance themselves from the wealth they are generating from peddling this poison in our community.
"There must be a better way to do this."
Minister Williams told Hawke's Bay Today she tries to call officers who have been seriously injured on duty. "But these are not calls I want to have to make. The safety of our frontline officers is something the Commissioner and I are both resolutely committed to."
She disagreed with the claim local officers did not support the programme.
"I am advised that local Police staff in Hawke's Bay were consulted, and indicated their support for the pilot programme."