Weekend Sun column

Friday, April 10, 2015

I hope you all managed to have some time off and relax over the Easter break. For me, it was great to spend a few days at home with my family and recharge the batteries.

In my last column I wrote about the Government’s efforts to help people off welfare and into education and work, and the targets we have set ourselves to reduce the number of people on a benefit.

This week I thought I would discuss another area of our Better Public Services targets – reducing crime. We have set a target of a 20 per cent reduction in total crime by 2018, a 20 per cent reduction in violent crime by 2017, and a 25 per cent reduction in youth crime by 2017.

Last week Police Minister Michael Woodhouse reported that recorded crime has fallen for the fifth year in a row. The 2014 recorded crime rate dropped by 4.2 per cent per head of population. In real numbers this means 101,016 fewer offences compared to 2009. Crime fell in ten of the twelve police districts, including the Bay of Plenty.

Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams recently announced that the number of young people (aged 10 to 16 years old) appearing in court has more than halved since 2007. This is fantastic news, as research shows those who receive a criminal conviction before the age of 20 are responsible for a significantly disproportionate amount of crime later on. We need to support at-risk young people so they don’t turn to a life of crime.

People have the right to feel safe in their own homes and their communities. We are ensuring this by focusing on crime prevention, reducing reoffending, more frontline policing, tougher sentences and tighter bail laws.