Thursday, 13 July 2023 - 12:39pm |
National News

Police maintain focus on retail crime

4 min read

Police are continuing to hold retail offenders to account with a multitude of arrests across the country.

Police has continued to focus on retail and youth crime with some encouraging results:

• Police’s National Retail Investigation Support Unit has laid 1,331 charges against 223 offenders since May 2022.

• Between 1 December 2022 and the end of May 2023, there have been approximately 388 ram-raid style events. To date, in response Police have:

o Taken 218 prosecutions against ram-raid offenders

o Made 86 youth referrals to Police Youth Services* and

o Continue to actively approximately investigate 99 ram raids.

• Since 1 December 2022 there have been 14,215 prosecutions and 1,429 youth referrals for retail crime.

• As at 6 July, 472 stores have had security intervention installations completed under the Retail Crime Prevention Programme

• Fast Track has referred 230 children to multi-agency teams for action plans that are developed within 48 hours.

• Retailers are better equipped, better advised, and helping investigations.

“This reflects the hard work Police are putting in to responding to crime and also in taking a prevention approach to reduce further offending,” says Chris De Wattignar, Assistant Commissioner Iwi and Communities.

Some of the positive policing activity includes 17 arrests around the country King’s Birthday weekend. Over that weekend, Waikato staff arrested four offenders following burglaries in Thames, Patetonga and Tahuna, another four arrested for similar offending in Dinsdale Hamilton, and two offenders were arrested following a Cambridge burglary. In Dunedin three people were arrested in multiple incidents across the Otago region, while further north in Christchurch, four people were arrested after fleeing a burglary.

Assistant Commissioner Chris De Wattignar said nearly all of the offenders caught at the start of the month were youth.

“When it comes to children and young people, the youth justice system aims to keep them out of the formal criminal system, while at the same time holding them to account.

“This is where our partnership with Oranga Tamariki on the Fast Track programme adds value.  The approach ensures once a child is identified or apprehended by Police for offending behaviour, information is shared with Oranga Tamariki and any immediate needs of the child and their whānau are addressed.

“From there a referral is completed for the child and whānau to multi-agency teams who agree on an action plan developed by the team within 48 hours.

“Since December 2022 there have been 230 referrals made through this process, and only 23 percent of those referred from the fast track through to the multi-agency teams have been referred again, showing the impact quick support can have on reducing reoffending.”

Assistant Commissioner De Wattignar says there have also been great examples recently of Police’s Retail Crime Prevention Programme security interventions helping foil offenders, and the difference technology has made in catching them.

“There was an incident where offenders in a stolen car went to rob a store and the worker activated the emergency alarm and fog cannon so they were only able to grab some confectionary on their run back out the door. They drove to a subsequent store where they stole cigarettes, but again fled once a fog cannon was activated. City CCTV then picked up the offenders and Police Eagle staff then used automatic number plate recognition cameras to provide commentary on the getaway vehicle, which was subsequently stopped by Police Dog Units and all four offenders were caught.”

“Without this technology, and without the crime prevention deterrents, the offenders would have likely caused more harm and not been caught as quickly.

“Police is deploying all the resources we have to tackle this kind of crime from all angles. We know the impact this has on communities and we are determined to play our part.

“Our National Retail Investigation Support Unit (NRISU) is known for its work in catching prolific retail offenders who work across the motu. But that is only part of the picture,” Chris says.

“They also work with retailers, large and small, around prevention advice and what they can do to help themselves. A recent example of this made media this week when offenders broke into a Michael Hill but stole nothing.

“The NRISU team has been working with Michael Hill around prevention advice and that has resulted in their changes to stores and practices that have strengthened their security footprint and prevented several incidents. This collaboration, and the improved security measures deployed by Michael Hill, has seen the majority of offenders being caught and charged.

“We are working at this from every angle, youth services, prevention, response, and most importantly – with partners and community.

“Recently, along with other agencies we met with officials in the Indian business community to discuss retail crime prevention. We all know it takes all of us working together to create change.”

Notes to media

Retail Crime Prevention Programme update:

As at 6 July, a total of 631 stores which had previously been ram raided or the victim of an aggravated robbery have had installations approved. Of these, 472 stores have now had installations completed.

As at 6 July, a total of 2,795 security interventions have been approved for eligible ram raid and aggravated robbery stores and allocated to contractors.  Of these, a total of 1,987 security interventions have been completed and invoiced by contractors.  That includes 448 fog cannons,  356 security sirens, 410  alarms, 388 CCTV systems or system upgrades, 113 bollards or similar security measures, 113 roller doors, and 99 other interventions that include improved lighting/strengthened windows.

*Police Youth Services (PYS) - Referrals to PYS for intervention which could include warnings, alternative actions such as referrals to Te Pae Oranga Rangatahi panels, other community providers or referral for family group conference.


Issued by Police Media Centre.