Higher police powers, not patrols will deter criminals – Wellington shopkeeper

Police need to have the power to take action and arrest criminals, not merely patrol the city centre, the owner of three Wellington shops says.

Police will redeploy 17 experienced officers from other beats.

Over the next two years, 63 additional staff in new community beat teams will also be deployed in Auckland and 10 in Christchurch.

But the owner of three shops in the suburb of Te Aro, who did not wish to be named, said he had no confidence that the operation would make a difference to the rise in crime.

The police took no action when a staff member was hospitalised after being assaulted by a customer, he said.

Furthermore, police had told him that they could not make an arrest for theft if it was under $100, he said.

“No one wants to see people be prosecuted for no reason, or to use money on prosecutions that just aren’t going to lead to any success, but what we do want, as shopkeepers, is for police to prevent this, and to stop it from happening, and to take action when it does happen,” he said.

He believed that 17 police officers would not make any difference, but Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive Simon Arcus said people would be surprised by what that kind of intervention could do.

Businesses have been struggling as anti-social behaviour and crime keep customers and visitors away.

“It’s really quite scary at times, you see a lot of crime in stores, particularly at night, and volatile people, and that puts people off being there,” Arcus said.

Hospitality New Zealand spokesperson Sam MacKinnon said its members had been wanting to see an increased police presence, particularly in the central business district, for a long time.

“A lot of our businesses have had some safety and crime concerns, and it has been taking a toll on on their confidence and on their mental state as business owners,” he said.

“We are hopeful that the increased police presence will improve business outlook, and hopefully, have some flow-on with an increase in foot traffic from consumers as well.”

Meanwhile in Christchurch, one woman said it was unnecessary, and believed that the police would struggle to recruit additional officers.

“Why would anyone want to come in and take on a job that they don’t get paid enough for?”

While another said that the increased police presence would make people feel safer, and would deter criminals.

“You never see police here, you only hear the sirens, but you see them everywhere in France and Germany and London,” she said.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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