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Just hours after a joint Iwi-Police crime and crash reduction initiative was signed in Wellington, two members of the target audience were arrested and charged with drink driving in the same car in Hamilton overnight.
City Commander, Inspector Greg Nicholls, said Police stopped a Ford Falcon car with four people on board on Bader St early this morning and processed the 19-year-old female driver for excess breath alcohol.
"The legal alcohol limit for a driver under 20 is zero and this woman blew 400mgs. After the woman was processed her arresting officers drove her home. After dropping her off they headed to a local service station where they saw the car the woman had been driving an hour earlier pull up.
"Going to investigate they found a 23-year-old disqualified driver behind the wheel. When questioned the woman said the Police didn't need to ask her if she had been drinking because they already knew, she had been a passenger in the car when it was stopped an hour earlier."
Mr Nicholls said this woman blew over 500mgms and was arrested for excess breath alcohol and driving while disqualified while the car was seized for a 28 day period.
"The overnight arrest of these two young Maori women highlights what the Turning of the Tide initiative, a Whanau Ora Crime and Crash Prevention Strategy, is all about- trying to prevent Maori over representation in crime and crashes.
"Turning of the Tide was developed by the Police's Maori Pacific Ethnic Services office at the request of the Commissioner's Maori Focus Forum. Based on Iwi Crime and Crash Plans drawn up by Te Arawa, Ngapuhi, Ngati Whatua and Tainui, it is the Maori equivalent of the Prevention First strategy."
The initiative's vision is to reduce the number of Maori entering and re-entering the criminal justice system and dying on the roads and is particularly pertinent to the Waikato given the District's road toll of 43 is the highest in the country.
"Research has shown us Maori are almost twice as likely to die or be seriously injured in road crashes compared to other ethnic populations so each of the initiative's signatories is committed to turning this tide
"While working together on Turning the Tide, Waikato Police and Tainui hope to prevent incidents like last night's and protect at risk drivers from themselves."
Targets for Turning the Tide
• 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).