A homicide last week only strengthened Upper Hutt Police's resolve to crack down on crime in the area.
Mid last week police launched 'Operation Relentless' - a blitz on criminals and a crackdown on crime in Upper Hutt.
The operation has been modeled on a successful tactic used by the Avon and Somerset Police in the UK. It involves a succession of dedicated days of action, each against a particular type of crime.
The operation involves almost all Upper Hutt police staff, who are abandoning their desk jobs to become 'operational'.
Upper Hutt Police are also being strengthened with the involvement of specialist police groups from outside the area and staff from other government departments.
"With Operation Relentless in full swing, we had plenty of staff to divert to last week's homicide investigation," says Acting Upper Hutt Police Area Commander Inspector Mike Hill.
Steven Stone, 21, died on Thursday during a cannabis robbery for which four people were caught on Thursday and Friday and face charges of aggravated robbery and murder.
"Despite having a major homicide investigation underway, we have been able to continue much of what we planned for Operation Relentless," says Inspector Hill.
WHAT POLICE HAVE FOUND ...
Action: Road Safety
• Nearly 50 people have been caught driving through stop signs and another 10 caught running red lights.
• Three people have been caught traveling at excessive speed on River Road:
- one was caught doing 139km/h in wet conditions
- a second was caught at 141km/h
- the third was caught at 145km/h
• 2642 vehicles were stopped at breath testing checkpoints on Friday and Saturday night:
- 10 people were caught driving over the alcohol limit
- 3 people were arrested for drink driving
- 1 person was arrested at a checkpoint on a warrant to arrest
Action: Alcohol abuse
Police visited a number of licensed premises throughout Upper Hutt over the weekend.
• 3 arrests were made for disorder on Friday night.
• 2 off-license operators were caught selling to an underage person. Both face prosecution.
Upper Hutt Police targeted drug crime over the weekend with the help of a drug dog, staff from Customs and the Military Police.
• 11 search warrants were executed.
• 13 arrests were made for a variety of drug offences, mainly relating to possession and cultivation of cannabis.
• Police dismantled two indoor growing operations.
• A 35-year-old man appears in Upper Hutt District Court today charged with producing a Class B controlled drug and unlawful possession of a firearm (sawn-off shotgun).
Action: Family Violence
Upper Hutt Police have made home visits to at risk family violence victims and offenders. Police staff were generally well-received.
Inspector Hill says staff often make home visits like this, but not on the scale that they can with Operation Relentless.
"It is useful to have rational discussions away from the tensions of violence having taken place or police involvement in an emergency situation.
"It is also useful for us to update our assessment of the level of risk present and to provide additional guidance and support."
Police were joined by Child, Youth and Family staff.
"The visits opened the door to further communication and assistance. Mostly it was about building trust and our relationship with people."
Further visits to known family violence victims and perpetrators are planned.
More about Operation Relentless:
Among the police staff involved Operation Relentless are those who normally work in specialist police roles like intelligence, youth aid, highway patrol or in administrative and support functions.
For dedicated periods of time, almost all Upper Hutt Police staff are being diverted to operational work targeting key crimes.
"Operation Relentless is giving Upper Hutt Police the ability to put maximum resources into some key policing areas," says Inspector Hill.
"Using all our staff operationally gives us the capacity to deal with issues in ways we cannot ordinarily.
"On a normal daily basis however Police can't neglect other critical functions undertaken by staff not on the beat."
Crime was down in Upper Hutt during 2006. Recorded violence, drug and antisocial offences, theft and burglary decreased in Upper Hutt during the last six months of 2006 compared with the same period in 2005. However, Inspector Hill says police need to keep changing tactics to keep it that way.
Family Violence safety tips:
The hard truths about domestic violence • the longer it goes on, the more violent it gets • about 10 children are killed every year in domestic violence • one woman is killed by her partner or ex-partner approximately every five weeks • Women's Refuge assists thousands of women and children every year • psychological abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse • children who hear or see domestic violence can suffer psychological harm
What is psychological abuse?
Here are some examples ... • damaging property as a way of hurting someone • making threats, such as 'If you leave, I'll kill you' or 'Tell the police and I'll beat up the kids' • allowing a child to see or hear any domestic violence • trying to control someone's life by constantly humiliating them • controlling someone's money, time, car or contact with friends as a way of having power over them
Who can help?
Agencies listed under Emergency Services or Personal Help Services at the front of the phone book (white pages), e.g. • New Zealand Police • Women's Refuge • Victim Support • Family Court • Preventing Violence in the Home
How will these organisations help?
Examples of how organisations can help include: • arranging emergency accommodation for you and your children if you need to get out of home • providing you with information about how the system works • arranging an appointment with a lawyer
More crime prevention and personal safety tips:
There are extensive crime prevention and personal safety tips on: • Police website - http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/personal-community • Neighbourhood Support website - www.ns.org.nz
For more information contact Inspector Mike Hill, Tel: 027 290 1609.