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Last week National released a discussion document on law and order. It has a range of proposals to put victims at the heart of the justice system.

We believe victims should get justice, criminals should be held accountable for the harm they cause, and offenders should be assisted with rehabilitation so they can become contributing members of our society. Keeping people safe with a tough response to crime and reducing it through Social Investment measures, such as prevention and rehabilitation, go hand in hand. Both are essential. We want to ensure prisoners can upskill to improve their opportunities outside of prison. Alongside this, we think there should be increased support for prisoners when they are released so they are less likely to commit further crimes and victimise more people. We believe New Zealanders should be able to go about their lives without fear and intimidation.

The number of patched gang members is increasing at almost twice the rate of new frontline police. We’ve always said we would crack down on gangs, and our discussion document reflects that. For a start, we’re proposing a new police unit which would harass and interfere with gang activity.

The unit would be modelled on ‘Strike Force Raptor’ in New South Wales which exists to target the activity of gangs and their associates. I visited the unit last week and spoke with their commander to learn more about their operations and successes. Something that hasn’t had much attention is the youth development they undertake to help to steer at-risk youth away from gangs. That work is undertaken by squad members who set the tactical gear aside for a few days every three months to help youth in their communities. That is as important as the work they are best known for.

You can give us feedback on our discussion document at

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