The Government is providing further support to help Police protect small businesses affected by a spike in ram raids, Minister of Police Poto Williams says.
$6 million from the Proceeds of Crime Fund will be invested in a crime prevention programme to be managed by Police which will include solutions such as installing bollards or other protection structures.
This complements Budget 22’s strong Law and Order investment to maintain police numbers in line with population growth and strengthen their ability to tackle crime and pursue those responsible in order to keep New Zealanders and their communities safe.
“We have heard the concerns of the small businesses being targeted by ram raids and other offending,” says Williams.
“While there has been a significant reduction in youth offending over the past decade, there has also been a recent spike in ram raids and related offending which we urgently need to address for these business owners.
“This funding will enable Police to work closely with vulnerable small retailers to identify effective and practical solutions based on the particular features of each location.
“Police will also look at the range of crime and security risks each small retailer may face, and other options such as fog cannons, security alarms, or screens may be considered,” says Williams.
A similar approach was taken to support the installation of fog cannons in 1,000 stores to prevent robberies.
“Alongside the obviously physical damage, ram raids can also have serious personal mental health and wellbeing impacts on business owners, their families, and staff and these measures help prevent that,” says Williams.
Police will establish and manage the programme of funding for small retailer crime prevention, with work beginning in Auckland and expanding if required.
It adds to the Government’s already-record investment in Police, to which Budget 22 added over $562 million over four years.
“Money and assets forfeited under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 go into the Proceeds of Crime Fund. This is exactly what the fund was designed for, to rectify the significant harm such criminal activities cause,” says Justice Minister Kris Faafoi.
This builds on work done by the National Retail Investigation Support Unit set up by Police in November 2021 in partnership with Retail NZ. In Waikato, Operation Pryor has targeted offenders involved in ram raids, and resulted in 150 arrests and 750 charges laid.
“The Government is committed to making sure the Police have the resources they need to prevent crime and keep our communities safe,” says Williams.
“That’s why Budget 2022 included a record investment of $562 million as our first priority is increasing the number of Police on the frontline which is the key to making people feel safe,” says Williams.
Alongside the increased Police prevention work, and in keeping with the Government’s policy of being tough on crime and also tackling the drivers of crime, social and justice Ministers, supported by agencies, are undertaking a broader programme focusing on the causes of child and youth offending and how to build on the success of the existing early interventions approach.
“We know that families need wrap around support, and MSD and other agencies will continue to work with the South Auckland Social Wellbeing Board which have established a cross-agency prototype to provide whanau-centred support for the young people who have been directly involved in ram raids,” says Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni.
“So far they have been able to respond to the needs of 19 tamariki and their families which has included re-enrolling them in school and connecting them up with financial assistance for helping them to access appropriate services, and multi-agency wrap around support targeted at each individual,” says Sepuloni.