Friday, June 30, 2023

Kate Hawkesby: Try as we do to endlessly support the Police, they’re not making it very easy for us

Try as we do to endlessly support the Police, they’re not making it very easy for us are they?

This story of the citizen’s arrest this week irked a lot of people - and rightly so.

If you missed it, a Christchurch business owner and some tradies tackled a thief to the ground after he allegedly stole motorcycle parts, he had an armload of stuff, they chased him, got him on the ground, held him down while they called Police.

The guy was putting up a fight and was yelling apparently that if they called the cops he’d ‘go back to prison’.

Some pause for thought there as to whether getting sent back to prison might be your motivator to not rob people in the first place, but that’s another story.

So these guys call the cops, the Police ask if the offender has any weapons on him, when they say, not that they can see, the Police tell them to let him go.

Let him go.

An offender, caught red handed, in possession of stolen goods, let him go. They do, he runs off down the street, free as a bird.

Now the Police here make a not invalid point- they can’t attend every callout, they can’t prioritize a guy stealing motorcycle parts when they have arguably more serious offences to attend like where people’s lives or safety’s at risk.

The Police claimed they had several high priority family harm events to attend at that time. And I don’t doubt that.

The sad reality is that they have to prioritise the crimes they attend, because there are not enough of them to attend everything.

That’s not their fault, but it doesn’t endear the Police to business owners trying to get by, these guys were aggrieved there was no follow up from the cops, other than being told to file a report online - and Police didn’t contact the business owner to even do that until after the Herald had chased them up on the story.  

So that’s disappointing, but again you could argue they’re too stretched, and that’s not their fault. The Commissioner, Andrew Coster admits trust and confidence in police is declining but says it's an international trend.

Is it?

And if it is, does that make it OK does it? Do we justify things based on whether they're happening overseas or not?

He says he's proud of the Police and their work, but that it is a thin blue line. Many of us would argue it feels thinner than ever before.

He says they're dealing with high demand, but that doesn't soothe the concerns of law abiding citizens or help placate the plight of victims.  

It’s disappointing if you’re a victim of crime, no matter how much you may appreciate how busy and stretched cops are, that they can’t or won’t follow up on incidents.

Part and parcel of us all knowing this these days though, unfortunately, is that more people are turning to citizen arrest style action.

More people are reticent to call cops and think they can just deal with it themselves.

We’ve seen it time and time again with retail crime and witnesses jumping in to try to stop offenders.

It’s a dangerous path to go down though, because there could be a weapon involved, you could make things worse for yourself or others.

Admirable as it is to have people try to jump in, it’s preferable the professionals are left to deal with it.

The glaring problem here is, there are seemingly not enough professionals available, or willing to do so.  

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.


Ray S said...

It seem odd that up to 10 cops work at road blocks breath testing for alcohol,
also 4 or 5 cars parked. An good cause but 10?
When there is a call to them that something real serious going down, they appear out of nowhere.
Go figure
They do seem to have a penchant to go for soft targets, drivers, gun owners, to name a couple.

Robert Arthur said...

I trust the tacklers are prepared to stump up thousands of dollars and devote hundreds of hours to defend themselves from allegation of assault. Depending on the identity of the thief, may also be lucky that Meng Foon has gone.Even so cancellation is likely.