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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: Proactive Policing Working
Title:New Zealand: Proactive Policing Working
Published On:2011-08-20
Source:Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-08-24 06:01:11

Vulnerable areas in Dunedin will be the focus of the newly formed
Proactive Policing Teams, which attracted nationwide interest for
their work on synthetic cannabis products.

Yesterday, Southern District Superintendent Bob Burns praised the work
of the teams, formed following restructuring and a move towards
preventive police work.

"It is a way of changing how we think about crime.

"Instead of thinking about individual instances that need to be
investigated, it is about starting to look at the crime and asking why
it occurred in the first place."

The Dunedin-based teams were some of the first of their kind in the
country, and followed an earlier Invercargill model, which contributed
to a double-digit drop in crime in the southern city.

"They showed the rest of the district what could be done with a
flexible team."

As part of the restructuring, 30 staff across the district were used
to create the teams - three in Dunedin, two in Invercargill - with
more possible in other areas, he said.

Supt Burns confirmed those teams would turn their attention to
vulnerable areas: namely the North Dunedin student area, South
Dunedin, and Central Dunedin - particularly in regards to
alcohol-related offending. The Invercargill suburb of Appleby would
also be a focus, he said.

Crime should be treated as a science, and analysing intelligence was
an increasingly important part of crime prevention, he said.

"Police know that 10% of offenders commit 54% of all reported crime,
10% of victims attract about 45% of crime, and we also know for a fact
that about 10% of locations attract 60% more calls for police service."

If police could identify those offenders, locations and victims, they
could "intervene in a problem-solving way then we are going to have
the biggest impact on our crime".

Prevention could be as simple as reviewing the lighting of an area,
finding if any recidivist offenders had moved in, working with other
community partners, and increasing police presence through patrols and

Supt Burns said the first major task of the Dunedin team was its
handling of synthetic cannabis, which shared intelligence at a
national level.

Proactive policing team sergeant Chris McLellan said Kronic was
identified as a "driver of crime", with the intelligence section
compiling information about synthetic cannabis products.

A working group of community stakeholders was established, and Dunedin
police began sharing intelligence nationally and with their Western
Australian police counterparts.

Those selling synthetic cannabis were also visited, to check they were
complying with legislation, he said.

Despite the 12-month ban on synthetic cannabis products coming into
force this week, police planned to monitor the effect of it being
removed from the shelves.

Supt Burns said the work of the teams highlighted the advantages of
having a flexible team, and people in vulnerable communities could
expect to see more police more often.
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