Time to talk crime

Cynthia Fairley. Photo: ODT files
Cynthia Fairley. Photo: ODT files
Gore district councillors have been updated on a programme aiming to increase community resilience to crime.

The Resilience to Organised Crime in Communities (Rocc) started in Southland in 2021 and Acting Inspector Cynthia Fairley is the Southern District Rocc co-ordinator.

She spoke at the community wellbeing committee meeting last week.

Rocc was a multi-agency approach to reducing crime in the community, Acting Insp Fairley said.

While the police are responsible for enforcing the law, other agencies are involved to help those affected by crime and reduce the harm it causes.

It was important resilience was built in communities so the factors which allowed organised crime to operate were reduced, she said.

"That’s having a real strength and collaboration within the communities so that organised crime can’t operate."

In March last year the Rocc programme, Hapori Manaroa ki Murihiku, was officially launched.

The stakeholders, including mana whenua, partner agencies, community representatives, rangatahi and New Zealand Police, decided success for people "would look like getting to choose a path rather than falling into a pre-determined one".

The group hosted a lived experience methamphetamine-focused hui in November where people were able to share their stories.

"We have to listen to people and take on what they’re saying."

Gore woman Kristin Leckie, whose daughter became addicted to the drug, spoke about her journey.

It was important to listen to the stories of people who had experienced a situation because they knew what helped them and what did not, Acting Insp Fairley said.

"A big passion for me is to listen to what’s working and what’s not, just try to fix what’s not."

At the end of last year, the group’s Murihiku Regional Plan was endorsed.

"That was the first in the country so really proud ... that we got it together focusing on our three cohorts but really giving a clear direction strategically of where we wanted to be heading as far as local initiatives."

As a result the group was able to set up its community resilience and whānau support fund which had $2.6 million worth of funding for two years.

Applications to the fund were now closed.

The programme was entering an exciting phase, she said.

"We’ve got a great platform in Murihiku and we’re sort of like the shining beacon for the rest of the country.

"They’re looking at us to see how we’ve set up governance and how we’ve captured community aspirations."

At the meeting, Cr Richard McPhail asked if methamphetamine use had increased.

Acting Insp Fairley said wastewater testing was only one tool but revealed about 12,600 doses of the drug was being consumed weekly in Invercargill.

While many people blamed the gangs for the increase of meth in the community, it was more an increase in organised crime that was to blame.

"A lot of our dealers are not patched at all."

The best thing to do was acknowledge meth was a problem and the public should report anything suspicious, she said.

"It is impacting and harming people in our community.

"It has a ripple effect right through communities."

People from all walks and stages of life used the drug, she said.