Whangārei Police Station should be open 24/7, National’s Whangārei-based List MP Shane Reti says.
Many people have asked me why the counter services at Whangārei Police Station are only open for business hours 8am-6pm. I don’t understand this either.
For a city of our size surely we need
24-hour counter services so I asked the Minister of Police who wrote that it was an operational issue. Not happy with this explanation, I explored further and looked at some crime trends and police number comparisons with Invercargill who do have 24-hour counter services.
I will note this comparison is not at all to advocate for shifting the “pie” from one area to another but rather to increase the amount of “pie” for both areas and indeed all of New Zealand. Some of the information provided by the Police Minister compares Invercargill and Whangārei cities and others compare Northland and Southern regions and by no means is this a complete crime picture, but it does cover some of the local topical issues.
Youth crime has been very topical in Whangārei over the past year and the Whangārei Labour MP has stated many times that on average youth crime is falling. Well that doesn’t match what locals are seeing and it simply can’t be true – and it isn’t. The latest figures from the Minister of Police to the end of last year show youth offending in Whangārei up from 791 to 828.
Ram raids and burglaries of service stations and dairies in Whangārei have increased dramatically with a doubling in the last six months (91) compared with the same period the previous year (49). We know this. We see it and read about nearly every single week.
Car break-ins in Whangārei are also their highest in five years with 443 last year alone, more than one a day.
Clearly then there are crime trends that validate Northland requiring further resources such as a 24-hour service counter which stands on its merit just on the figures alone. As a comparison then how do we compare to Invercargill which does have 24-hour counter services.
If we look at gang numbers between the two areas there are clear differences with nearly 57 per cent more gang members in Northland (340) compared to Southern (225).
In the past year there were more serious offences per 10,000 people in Whangārei (127) compared with Invercargill (123).
Finally, Northland has less constabulary (450) than Southern (563).
So, Northland /Whangārei has more crime, less constabulary, and counter services that operate only during business hours.
I think that needs some explanation and I challenge the local Labour MPs to do exactly that and to do a better job lobbying for more resources so Police can be tooled up to do the job that they want to do and that us as citizens want to help them to do. I back our local Police 100 per cent.