Thursday, 14 August 2003 - 2:26pm |
National News

Police resolve more crime

5 min read

An overall resolution rate of 43.7% is the highest recorded in New Zealand in 20 years, Acting Police Commissioner Steve Long said today.

Mr Long was releasing the official recorded crime statistics for the financial year ended 30 June 2003.

Total crime increased by 2.5% from 436,315 to 447,146 offences in the 2002/03 financial year against a population increase of 1.9%.

&#34Taking into account the population increase, the net result is a good effort especially when a significant amount of the increase in recorded crime is attributable to proactive policing.&#34

&#34Public place violence has remained at a relatively stable level this financial year. A focus on violent offending was reflected in an increase in more acts of violence being reported, particularly family violence.

&#34It’s interesting to note the rate of increase in crime is down on previous years and continues to reflect the longer term trends of reducing levels of crime in New Zealand over the past eight years. For example in 2001/2002 financial year crime increased by 2.2% per 10,000 population and this financial year it has increased only by 0.5%,&#34 said Mr Long.

The Waikato and Northland Districts each recorded reductions in total crime of 3.5% and 2.7% respectively while resolution rates in ten of the twelve Districts improved with Northland leading the way with 52.8%, Tasman with 52.4% North Shore/Waitakere with 51.6%, and Eastern with 49.7%.

Dishonesty Offences

Dishonesty offences increased by 1.5% with burglary from dwellings, car theft and theft from cars being the main contributors.

Burglary from dwelling offences increased by 4.6% from 36,092 to 37,736 offences.

Car theft increased by 3.9% from 37,819 to 39,305 offences. Theft from cars increased by 0.4% from 135,694 to 136,231 offences in the 2002/2003 financial year.


Public place violence is steady overall and is very much composed of offences at the lower end of the spectrum. Over a third of the 3.6% increase, from 44,384 to 45,980 offences in recorded violence is for offences such as threatening behaviour/language and offensive weapon possession.

Proactive policing has produced an increase in the number of this type of offences. Such policing activities aim to intervene in potentially volatile situations before more serious violence occurs.

Police and community focus on domestic violence has resulted in an increase in the reporting of family offences resulting in a 4.1% increase in this category.

Sexual Offences

There was a 6% reduction in the number of recorded sexual offences from 3,544 in 2001/2002 to 3312 offences in 2002/2003.

Drugs and Anti Social

Recorded cannabis offences decreased by 2.4% from 21,131 to 20,626 this financial year compared to last year. However non-cannabis offences in particular methamphetamine increased by 380 offences from 2,798 to 3,088 offences. Police awareness of the prevalence of methamphetamine manufacture has increased and Police are increasingly detecting clandestine laboratories when inspecting premises. Police have closed down 154 labs this financial year compared to 66 in the last financial year.

Police have commissioned Massey University to undertake a study to understand linkages between drugs and crime and to identify more effective ways for Police and communities to respond. Already we are working with the Maori community and are seeking the involvement of agencies like DARE to bring home to New Zealanders the fact that methampetamine is a very dangerous drug which destroys the lives of its users.

There has been an increase of 78% from 1263 to 2249 offences in the number of the Sale of Liquor Act offences (1989), particularly involving supply to minors. However, also behind the numbers is a significant focus Police have been giving to reducing alcohol-related offending and victimisation. Alcohol costs the country an estimated $14 billion each year, and causes one in every five deaths of people aged 15-34 years. Alcohol has known links to violence, disorder and crimes against property.

Much alcohol-related crime prevention work is underway in districts, this work in based on partnerships with licensees, local authorities and community based organisations.

Enforcement initiatives have produced increases in the number of recorded drug and anti social offences. Over half the increase in this category was in disorder offences as a result of targeted policing of alcohol-related offending and victimisation, and disorderly behaviour in public places where liquor bans have been imposed.

Property and administrative offences

&#34Enforcement of legislation in relation to &#34boy racers&#34, liquor bans and truancy has contributed to the increase in administrative offences.

Police impounded 359 cars in the financial year. Districts report that incidents have significantly reduced.

The increase in property and administrative offences is predominantly due to breaches of bylaws in relation to liquor bans that have been strictly enforced by Police on behalf of local authorities.

Police focus on reducing truancy, a cause of crimes such as burglary and theft from cars, has also added to the increase in the number of offences in this category.


Homicide offences dropped from 112 to108 in the financial year. Homicide statistics in New Zealand include attempted murder, abortion and aiding suicide offences. There were 57 murder offences compared to 67 in 2001/2002 financial year.

Road Policing

&#34Road Policing represents over 20% of the services provided by NZ Police.
Our enforcement activity is producing very positive road safety results. The road toll was 416 in 2002/03 the best since records started in 1965.
There were 429 deaths in 2001/02.

Speeding remains one of the most common factors in fatal and serious injury road crashes. Police are pursuing a policy of general detterence in the interests of reducing road trauma.

Speeding offences in under 100 km/h areas have increased by 66% from 114,631 to 190,433. Highway Patrols and other rural patrol groups are also continuing their efforts to reduce open road speeds by targeting the 11-15kph range of speeds over the legal limit.

There has been a 2% reduction in drink drive offences from 25,348 to 24,744 in the last year. This is consistent with recent trends and it is an expected result of continuing emphasis on drink driving and the roll out of five more dedicated Compulsory Breath Test teams.

Dangerous/Reckless Driving offences increased by 12% from 4586 to 5159. There has been a continuing gradual upward trend in this type of offending..

There has been increased attention at intersections of the dangers of failure to give way. The current advertising campaign highlights these risks and detection rates for these offences have increased by 15% from 31,396 to 36,054.

Seat belt offences have increased by 67% from 40,224 to 66,977. There has been a sharp increase in offences reported as Police place greater emphasis on restraint offending as a major aggravator of road trauma.


Mr Long said that while there were areas that needed attention there were some very satisfying results in some key focus areas such crash reduction, violence in public places, the discovery and destruction of clan labs and in particular the great improvement in the overall rate of resolved crime.

&#34Full credit must go to members of Police for their continued good work. The highest resolution rate in 20 years is a reflection of their skills and tenacity to bring criminals to justice.&#34