29 Nov 2022

Funding to deal with crime 'not enough', Indian community leaders say

11:53 am on 29 November 2022
Flowers are seen outside Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham, Auckland, after the fatal stabbing of a dairy worker on Wednesday, 23 November, 2022.

Flowers are left at Rose Cottage Superette following Janak Patel's death. Photo: RNZ / Jonty Dine

Indian community leaders are not convinced a business support package targeted at dealing with crime will help fearful dairy owners.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a new $4 million fund to support local council crime prevention programmes to be matched dollar-for-dollar with councils.

She also said the Retail Crime Prevention Fund would be expanded to include aggravated robberies committed in the past year.

A $4000 subsidy for small shops and dairies to install a fog cannon if they choose, "not just those who have been the victim of a crime", was also announced.

It comes after 34-year-old Janak Patel was fatally stabbed while working at Rose Cottage Superette in Auckland's Sandringham.

Sandringham Business Association chairperson Jithin Chittibomma

Sandringham Business Association chairperson Jithin Chittibomma. Photo: RNZ / Matthew Theunissen

While Sandringham Business Association chairperson Jithin Chittibomma welcomed the announcement, he said it wouldn't change the attitudes perpetrators had towards workers - and migrant workers.

Chittibomma said fog cannons were great, but they weren't going to change anything in the coming days.

People were committing these crimes and they were committing them now, he said.

President of the New Zealand Indian Central Association Narendra Bhana agreed.

Bhana said the government was quick at making funding announcements but they did "absolutely nothing".

The government needed to focus on the root cause of the problems - criminals.

Tougher laws would solve problems and criminals needed to be help to account, he said.

Dipak Bhana President of Wellington Indian Association

Wellington Indian Association president Dipak Bhana. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Wellington Indian Association president Dipak Bhana said a lot of dairy owners were not getting justice.

"Horrendous" things were taking place, he said.

Dipak Bhana said one Wellington dairy owner had been attacked with fly spray and although the offender was caught, he was back on the streets soon after for good behaviour.

Dipak Bhana said this offender then went back to the same dairy and threatened the owner's life.

He agreed tougher laws were needed and suggested the three-strike police would be a good deterrent.

Mark Mitchell

National Party's Mark Mitchell. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

National Party police spokesperson Mark Mitchell told Morning Report the party would reintroduce the three-strike policy if it was elected into power.

Mitchell said data showed the policy did work.

He said National wanted to see "proper consequences" for offenders and was "fully focused" on changing the law around discounts.

"The public of New Zealand don't feel like there is consequences. They don't feel safe in their houses, they don't feel like the judicial is working in their favour at all and it's very rare we here about victims at all these days."

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Criminal justice advocate and former police officer Sir Kim Workman. Photo: supplied

Criminal justice advocate and former police officer Sir Kim Workman said a remedial process was needed to rehabilitate offenders.

Many of the young people committing ram raids these days have absent parents and don't understand the consequences of their actions, he said.

"They've been brought up in a different way than most of us have.

"When you hear the stories of those kids who have do the ram raids, parents being absent for 2-3 months at a time and so on. You start to realise the enormity."

A remedial process would require improved housing, education, working parents, and the community coming together in partnership with authorities to develop "local solutions to local problems".

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