30 Mar 2023

New retail crime unit marks 1000th charge laid

2:37 pm on 30 March 2023
Damaged windows after the BP service station on Chapel Road, Botany, was targeted by ram raiders, 14 June 2022.

The aftermath of a ram raid in Botany, Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Mohammad Alafeshat

Police say their new National Retail Investigation Support Unit (NRISU) has already secured 1000 charges against alleged criminals.

Operational since May last year, the NSIRU targets high-profile and repeat retail crime offenders.

Among the 178 alleged offenders it has apprehended are a pair who racked up 82 charges between them, as reported in February.

Police did not say how many convictions the 1000 charges resulted in, but called it a "significant milestone" nonetheless.

"We are a small unit with three investigators and one intelligence support officer who focus on the worst recidivist offenders," manager Matt Tierney said.

"We then work with districts to hold them to account. We have partnered with the retail sector and crime prevention organisations to draw on data, identify patterns, and work with our local staff to address repeat offending. And we've had results."

Police also said Operation Rhino in Auckland and Operation Pryor in Waikato, targeting youth offending - retail crime in particular - had secured 607 prosecutions and 257 youth referrals between them since January 2022.

As of 29 March, more than 2350 stores that have suffered a ram-raid or aggravated robbery had been approved for security interventions such as fog cannons, security sirens, alarms, CCTV systems, bollards, roller doors, strengthening windows and improving lighting.

Of those, 810 had been completed.

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