Nobody in this country should go to work feeling unsafe.
We are determined to stop aggravated robberies on small businesses.
That is why the Police and the Government are working together on a range of measures to make your communities safer.
Earlier this month, I announced $1.8 million for robbery prevention. This funding is for dairies, superettes and small local businesses. Businesses assessed as being high-risk by the Police will be invited to apply for co-funding for things like panic and high volume interior alarms, DNA spray, fog cannons and time safes for cash and storage of cigarettes.
Police will fund up to 50% of the cost of the security measures.
In some exceptional circumstances, they may pay a larger share.
It is expected that all the 500-600 businesses considered high-risk will be eligible for co-funding. In addition to that, around 3500 businesses will be visited to receive safety advice.
Businesses at high-risk of robberies will be determined by using established intelligence assessment tools that overlay crime rates with other characteristics, such as type of crime, the time of day and location.
The Police have assured me that they will be able to support a majority of high-risk businesses over a six-month period.
In the 1990s, there was a period where bank robberies increased. The banks increased security and since then the number of bank robberies has dramatically decreased.
By making dairies, superettes and other small businesses safer, we are hopeful this will have the same effect.
This is just one of a range of measures that we are taking to stop these attacks from happening in the first place and to catch the offenders.
The funding for these security measures comes on top of the “There’s nothing good about stolen goods” campaign announced by Police last week. This campaign targets businesses or individuals receiving stolen property from robberies.
On-selling stolen goods only encourages these crimes. Rewards have been offered through Crimestoppers for those who provide information which leads to a conviction.
Aggravated robbery is a serious crime. These criminals need to know that they could face 14 years in prison and that they are much more likely to get caught now that the Police have these new measures in place.
Police have carried out ‘Operation Dukan,’ through which they have increased the numbers of officers in high-risk areas, and carried out crime prevention seminars. Officers in Auckland have visited more than 1000 businesses over the past three months to provide prevention advice.
In the past two months, the Police have arrested over a hundred people in connection with aggravated robberies. They have increased their presence on the streets and have been working with shop owners to help make their businesses safer.
Taking small steps like clearing the front windows of shops so that the public can see and moving shop counters to the front of the shop can make a big difference in making shops safer. I would encourage all small business owners who are visited by the Police to take their advice seriously.
I want to assure the community that the Police are taking this matter seriously and so is the Government.
Increased Police numbers
In February, the Prime Minister and I announced 1125 more Police staff. The first will be on the beat in October.
The total number of Police will be boosted by 10%.
The extra frontline police officers will work in targeted areas where we know that they are needed. Five hundred will go out on the beat and into community policing.
Those officers will strengthen the emergency response, and focus on youth offending, burglaries and community crime.
Everybody deserves to feel safe and I am confident that the range of measures we have in place will make our shops and communities safer.
Paula Bennett is Deputy Prime Minister and Police Minister. She is seen here briefing the media in Auckland on June 1, 2017 after announcing $1.8 million funding for safer diaries. (Picture Supplied)