New strategy aims to turn the tide of Maori victimisation and offending

Thursday 13 December 2012, 2:06PM
By New Zealand Police

Iwi and Police are joining together to implement an innovative strategy aimed at reducing victimisation, offending, road fatalities and injuries among Maori.

'The Turning of the Tide - a Whanau Ora Crime and Crash Prevention Strategy' was developed by the Police Commissioner's Maori Focus Forum, consisting of senior Iwi representatives from around the country, with help from Police.

It's based on Iwi Crime and Crash Plans drawn up by Te Arawa, Ngapuhi, Ngati Whatua and Tainui and has been strongly endorsed by iwi leaders around the country.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says there is an obvious need to reduce the number of Maori entering and re-entering the criminal justice system and dying on the roads.

"Maori now comprise more than 40% of all police apprehensions, more than 50% of the prison population and more than 20% of crash fatalities, despite making up only 15% of the general population.

"It wasn't always like this and everyone recognises things need to change.

"We've jointly developed a set of challenging targets out to 2018 that will really make a difference to Maori representation in official statistics."

These are:
•       a 10% decrease in the proportion of first-time youth and adult offenders who are Maori;
•       a 20% decrease in the proportion of repeat youth and adult victims and offenders who are Maori;
•       a 25% decrease in Police (non-traffic) apprehensions of Maori that are resolved by prosecution; and
•       a 20% reduction in the proportion of casualties in fatal and serious crashes who are Maori (without increasing the proportion of Maori injured in serious crashes).

Ngäti Porou leader and Maori Focus Forum member, Dr Apirana Mahuika, believes the time is right for action.

"Most Maori who are victims or who are directly involved in crime are under 25 years of age. With our population of young people growing, if we do nothing, then even more Maori will end up in hospitals, police cells, courts and prisons. We can't let that happen."

Dr Mahuika says in 1996, he laid down a challenge to Police on behalf of Iwi.

"E t? ki te kei o te waka, kia päkia koe e ng? ngaru o te w?. Stand at the stern of the canoe and feel the spray of the future biting at your face.

"The Turning of The Tide shows that Police have risen to that challenge. "

Dr Mahuika says Iwi around the country are serious about working with Police to make a long-term change.

"Both sides are ready for what will be an occasionally testing but very rewarding journey together.

"We welcome this strategy and look forward to the time when every New Zealander will be better off as a result of the improvements it will bring."