About 20 years ago, New Zealand was a much safer, friendlier place.
We could work alone in our shops and not have to worry about robbery.
We could walk down the streets without even a thought of being mugged.
The idea that someone would break into your home while you are there was preposterous.
How times have changed!
Crime in New Zealand has undergone two major shifts in recent times.
The first is the age of criminals is getting younger, and the second is the crime committed is more and more violent.
It is not just the public who are on the receiving end of this.
The New Zealand Police themselves are getting more and more concerned about the safety of their officers as attacks by young offenders are becoming more frequent.
Confronting the problem
The Law and Order policy that we have released proposes to address this problem on multiple fronts.
First of all, we plan to put 2,400 extra police into New Zealand communities. These extra officers will make up for years of neglect by previous governments and restore policing to a level that keeps everyone safe and reduces crime.
These extra police will be able to better work in the community with the 50 new mobile police stations. Mobile police stations have been a massive success for the New Zealand Police and they have been screaming out for more.
Officers can park in a public car park and spend time in the community getting to know everyone while still being able to perform their regular duties.
We will also legalise self-defence.
The threat of criminal charges is the last thing anyone wants to think about when confronted in their home or business.
However, we face a situation where criminals know people are more afraid of the legal consequences of fighting back than they are of them.
The recent rise in aggravated robbery that small business are facing is a result of the perpetrators knowing that in the balance of probabilities they will probably get away free and clear. The current law sees ‘self defence’ as a defence in court only after charges have been brought. This re-victimises people who have already been through traumatic events.
The increased resources that we are providing the Police will strengthen their presence in the community.
We need to intervene with youth offenders sooner and break the current trend of escalation. Youth need a strong guiding hand to help them out of the cycle of crime that feeds the record number of inmates our prison system is facing.
A tough stance is what is needed to make our communities safe.
Setting youth offending as a priority for the New Zealand Police will be investment into New Zealand’s future as the more we get out of crime at a young age, the less long-term offenders we have to deal with.
These are the highlights of our policy; our full policy is available on our website. If New Zealand People’s Party is successful in this year’s election we will make your community safe.
Anil Sharma is General Secretary and Education Spokesman of the New Zealand People’s Party based in Auckland.