A strengthened multi-agency response is being trialled in parts of Auckland to address underlying factors that lead to young people engaging in risky behaviour and offending.
Under the trial, representatives from a number of government agencies including Police, Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Education, along with community providers will work together on a whānau-focused collaborative approach.
Senior Sergeant Craig Clark says planning has been underway for the past month and is based off an existing model involving a cross-agency response to family harm in the Counties Manukau District.
“Police and our partners continue to be concerned by the level of risk posed to the community and the young people themselves when they are becoming involved in stealing vehicles and committing ram-raid style burglaries,” says Senior Sergeant Clark.
Initially this trial, supported by the South Auckland Social Wellbeing Board, will work with young people and their families from across the Counties Manukau District for an initial three month period before looking at options to expand this approach across the Auckland region.
Senior Sergeant Clark says there are often complex and challenging circumstances which influence the behaviours of these children meaning a multi-disciplinary approach is required.
“Police will continue to investigate this offending when it occurs and identify those responsible, but we recognise that police alone don’t hold the solutions to preventing youth crime.”
Oranga Tamariki South Auckland Regional Manager Alison Cronin says it’s important for communities and families to lead the way with the right support in place from partner agencies.
“The majority of young people and tamariki we work with experience family violence, exposure to drugs and alcohol, truancy, mental health problems, and neuro or learning disabilities. Wrap-around support for young people and their families to address these risk factors is crucial – we know that a stable home life reduces risk.”
Jarred Williamson/NZ Police