Police and iwi have set tough targets for reducing Maori
offending and road fatalities as part of a new Whanau Ora
Police Commissioner Peter Marshall today launched the Turning
of the Tide crime and crash prevention strategy, which aims
to reduce Maori first-time offending by 10 per cent and
repeat offending by 20 per cent by 2018.
The strategy also hopes to reduce apprehensions leading to
prosecutions by 25 per cent, and the number of fatal and
serious road crashes involving Maori by 20 per cent.
It was developed by the commissioner's Maori Focus Forum, a
group of senior iwi representatives from around the country,
with help from police.
The strategy draws on iwi crime and crash prevention plans
developed Te Arawa, Ngapuhi, Ngati Whatua and Tainui and has
been strongly endorsed by iwi leaders around the country.
Part of the strategy will involve police informing iwi about
crimes in their areas, so they were aware of who needed
Police intelligence director Mark Evans said a new senior
intelligence advisor, to be appointed in February, would help
identify repeat victims, offenders and road crash locations.
"We're really focused on helping iwi understand who their
repeat offenders are so they can help them, who their repeat
victims are so they can support them, and what the repeat
locations are so they can have conversations with police or
other agencies about what we might do about those places."
Mr Evans said police had put processes in place so privacy
would be protected.
Police had already done a lot of work to identify where Maori
were dying on the roads, and iwi would be given specific
information on high risk roads this afternoon.
The new role will be funded within existing police budgets
rather than Whanau Ora funding.
Mr Marshall told senior iwi and police today that the
strategy, which was six years in the making, had set some
He said iwi needed to take the lead, but police had also
looked into their practices to see how they could complement
the work of iwi.
Mr Marshall said there was an obvious need to reduce the
number of Maori entering and re-entering the criminal justice
system and dying on the roads.
Maori accounted for more than 40 per cent of all police
apprehensions, more than 50 per cent of the prison population
and more than 20 per cent of crash fatalities, despite making
up only 15 per cent of New Zealand's population.
"It wasn't always like this and everyone recognises things
need to change," Mr Marshall said.
He pointed to research which found a 10 per reduction in
repeat Maori offending by 2025 would save the criminal
justice system $400 million, put $150m back into Maori
households and generate $20m in tax revenue.
Reducing road crashes involving Maori, which had cost $3
billion in the last five years, would also bring benefits.
Naida Glavish, who has helped lead the Ngati Whatua crime
prevention plan, said there had been a lack of trust between
iwi and police in the past, but the crime prevention strategy
was eroding that.
To be successful, the strategy needed support from police,
good information-sharing, and local governance oversight.
Ngati Porou leader and forum member Apirana Mahuika said most
Maori victims or offenders were under 25 years of age.
"With our population of young people growing, if we do
nothing, then even more Maori will end up in hospitals,
police cells, courts and prisons. We can't let that happen,"
Dr Mahuika said iwi around the country were serious about
working with police to make a long-term change.
- Matthew Backhouse of APNZ