Friday, 22 September 2017 - 1:02pm

Police-Tūhoe youth initiative wins top award

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An initiative in which Police and Tūhoe work together to reconnect troubled youngsters with their Māori culture and steer them away from crime has won a major award.

Oho Ake, developed by Bay of Plenty Police and Tūhoe Hauora, won the Supreme Award in the 2017 Evidence Based Problem Oriented Policing (EBPOP) Awards.

The Tūhoe model, based in Whakatane, is the longest-running of four iwi alternative action initiatives credited with dramatically reducing the number of young people in the justice system in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Presenting the award in Wellington yesterday, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Oho Ake was making a massive difference to local communities and would have an impact on Police’s target of a 25 percent reduction in Māori reoffending.

“You have made a significant difference in terms of the communities we all collectively serve,” he told the project team.

Oho Ake, which launched in 2010, also won the award for Excellence in Achieving Collective Impact. It was one of four finalists, selected from ten projects nationwide,  which won EBPOP awards (see below).

Representing Oho Ake were Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander Inspector Kevin Taylor, Youth and Community Services Supervisor Sergeant Tom Brooks, Iwi Liaison Officer Joshua Kalan and Tūhoe Hauora General Manager Pania Hetet.

Under Oho Ake, a Police Youth Aid team visits a young offender’s home to gather information, then consults with Tūhoe Hauora on the case. If it is suitable, Tūhoe Hauora makes further visits and develops a whānau plan.

Pania said this includes assessment of the family’s needs and any underlying issues, setting of short and long-term goals for the whānau and offender - and ensuring the young person is held accountable for their offending.

Police are advised of progress at a review at three months and decide whether the case can be closed. Tūhoe Hauora continue to work with the whānau, sometimes for 18 months or more.

Tom said in 2012/13 Youth Aid staff had held 130 Family Group Conferences with 73 young people; in 2016/17 this was down to 33 FGCs with 23 offenders.

“There are now just seven young people in the court system in Eastern Bay of Plenty – that’s quite remarkable,” he said.

Most of the young people involved had re-entered education or employment, their parents were more involved in their lives and substance misuse was falling.

Mark Evans, Police’s Deputy Chief Executive Strategy and one of the Executive sponsors of the awards, said: “At a time when the prison population is at record levels… this is a really practical demonstration of the opportunities ahead of us.”

This was Police’s fifth annual Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Awards, which highlight projects involving identification and analysis of problems and the development, implementation and robust assessment of effective responses.

This year they were renamed Evidenced Based Problem-Oriented Policing to underline the importance of evidence in effective policing.

The other finalists

CANTERBURY:  Have a Good One - Preventing alcohol-related harm from house parties

  • Winner of award for Excellence in Reducing Harm from Crime.Canter

  • Collaborative approach led by Riccarton Neighbourhood Policing Team to reduce alcohol-related harm centred on university students and house parties, and increase engagement between local and student communities.

  • Included development of the ‘Good One’ party register.

  • Increased engagement within community and with Police; disorder and noise reduced.

WAITEMATĀ: Project Auckland Transport Operations Centre (ATOC)

  • Winner of award for Excellence in Generation, Application and Development of Evidence.Waite

  • Established to improve liaison between Police and NZTA at ATOC, at Smales Farm on the North Shore, to reduce harm from congestion on 327km Auckland road network.

  • Involved embedding a Police Liaison Officer into the ATOC.

  • Improved real-time command and control of Police resources and support to NZTA; use of ATOC resources to prevent harm; greatly reduced recovery time after incidents on network.

COUNTIES MANUKAU: Operation Dukan – retail engagement focusing on crime prevention

  • Winner of award for Excellence in Reducing Repeat Victimisation.counties

  • Staff chosen for language and cultural skills provided support and prevention advice to retailers from South Asian communities amid increase in robberies and aggravated robberies.

  • Staff visited more than 300 retailers, offering advice based on CPTED principals.

  • Increased trust and confidence in Police and fall in victimisation among many retailers who implemented recommended changes.