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Lobby group says govt crime plan too ambitious

Jul 20th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

NEW government goals like cutting crime by 15% over the next five years may be overly ambitious, says lobby group Rethinking Crime and Punishment.

“Most people would be brave if they said they could decrease the crime rates by 5%,” says director Kim Workman (right).

He believes some goals in the Government’s Better Public Services plan to reduce crime and reoffending released earlier this month are “extremely hopeful”.

Although Mr Workman is satisfied that the Government is addressing issues such as violent crime, youth crime and re-offending, he has opposing ideas on the strategies involved.

One of the aims, a 5% reduction in youth court appearances for those aged between 14 and 16, does not necessarily mean youth would be committing less crime.

“What we don’t want are the police not holding youths responsible for their crimes just so they can meet the targets,” he says.

“We need police to be visiting communities which are danger zones for crime and developing relationships with the people. We should be smart on crime instead of tough on crime.

“Results won’t be immediate, but we’re looking for a long-term impact.”

Another of the goals is a 20% decrease in violent crime, and as alcohol is a major contributor to violent crime the Government plans to increase the retail value of alcohol.

Mr Workman believes although this may work for some offenders, there are others who are hugely dependent on alcohol and instead need treatment.

“We should be creating drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres for people who have been hooked on the stuff their entire lives. Simply raising the price won’t work,” he says.

“We need to develop a culture around sober fun. Changing our culture will be incredibly difficult, but it’s what needs to be done.”

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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