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Sun 9th March 2014

Prosecution of Crime Reduced – Judith Collins

Judith Collins26 MARCH, 2013
Conviction, sentencing stats show crime down

Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice today show the number of people being charged in court has reduced by more than 20 per cent since 2009, Justice Minister Judith Collins says.

The Conviction and Sentencing Statistics, published on the Statistics New Zealand website, show 98,783 people appeared in court in 2012, down 7 per cent from 2011 and 22 per cent from 2009.

The Child and Youth Prosecution Statistics, also published today, show the rate of children and young people being charged in court is the lowest in 20 years and down 40 per cent since 2007 to 3,018.

“These figures confirm what we already know – that crime is falling and New Zealand is becoming a safer place to live.

“The results show that this government’s strong commitment to making our communities safer is working,” Ms Collins says.

The number of people charged with a violent offence has dropped 17 per cent over the last four years, after steadily increasing between 2004 and 2009.

“Reversing of the violent offence trend is particularly pleasing because violent offences are responsible for the most harm in our communities,” Ms Collins says.

74 per cent of the people charged in court are convicted, and 10 per cent of those are sent to prison. For every 10,000 people in New Zealand, 22 were sentenced to prison in 2012 compared with 25 in 2011.

The most common sentence imposed is a fine or reparation (39 per cent), while 17 per cent get a community sentence and 28 per cent community work.

Along with the general reduction in youth convictions, the number of children and young people convicted in an adult court for serious offences has dropped from 500 to 199 in the last five years. Children and young people now make up less than 3 per cent of the total people charged in court in New Zealand.

“Fewer children and young people coming before our courts is an encouraging sign. We know that a key to reducing crime is to stop young people entering the court and justice system in the first place,” Ms Collins says.

The statistics also show:

In the adult court, charges for most offence types have decreased compared with 2011.
In 2012, most offences charged in court were low level offences. For example, the two main categories of offences are traffic and vehicle regulatory offences, and offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations.
People charged with the most serious violent offences were more likely to be sentenced to imprisonment, and for longer periods than those convicted of less serious offence types in 2012.
Statistics are available at www.stats.govt.nz and www.justice.govt.nz

Judith CollinsJustice
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Downgrading crime

This excerpt is taken from the blogsite of Karen Franklin, Ph.D. is a forensic psychologist and adjunct professor at Alliant University in Northern California. She is a former criminal investigator and legal affairs reporter. This blog features news and commentary pertaining to forensic psychology, criminology, and psychology-law. If you find it useful, you may subscribe to the newsletter (above). See Dr. Franklin’s website for more

The case of Daryl Thomas (Anecdote 2) involved more than neglect of violent crimes. As Detective Hernandez discovered, police brass in his precinct — and throughout New York City — were systematically downgrading crimes from serious felonies to minor misdemeanors, in order to improve their CompStat crime statistics. A model that has been adopted throughout the United States as well as in England and Australia, CompStat had the unintended consequence of fostering competition among precincts for lower statistics. Only seven categories of major crime are counted in crime statistics and made publicly available, so police can reduce crime rates by, for example, reclassifying attempted rape as criminal trespass.

The Thomas case was handled quietly, with no media attention. Thomas was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison. But Hernandez, frustrated by the constant battles with his own superiors, took an early retirement. “Unfortunately, this is the culture for the young cop coming into the department. He doesn’t see the bigger picture,” he said. “If it’s going to allow him to have a day off, and they won’t ride him or harass him, he’ll go along with it. And New Yorkers are being victimized, and no one responds to their complaints.”

While major crimes were being downgraded to misdemeanors, Manhattan police were also being encouraged to trump up minor cases — drinking in public or driving without a seatbelt — in order to bolster their statistics. Police officer Adrian Schoolcraft surreptitiously recorded his superiors giving these directives; with the collusion of a department psychologist, he eventually found himself drummed out of the force on trumped-up psychiatric grounds. (You can hear excerpts from his secret tapes on This American Life.)
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Detective work is no fun

Many police officers are appalled by the insidious militarization of police. Betty Taylor, police chief of a small Missouri town, recalled how she became troubled by the economic disparity between the “drug guys,” flush with property seizures and endless federal grants, and the struggling sex crimes unit that she had established.

“When you think about the collateral effects of a sex crime, of how it can affect an entire family, an entire community, it just didn’t make sense,” she told Balko. “The drug users weren’t really harming anyone but themselves. Even the dealers, I found much of the time they were just people with little money, just trying to get by.” Her opinion solidified when she was recruited onto a SWAT team, and witnessed first-hand the lasting terror that the raids produced in vulnerable children.

“I thought, how can we be the good guys when we come into the house looking like this, screaming and pointing guns at the people they love? … Good police work has nothing to do with dressing up in black and breaking into houses in the middle of the night…. When you get into that [us-versus-them] mentality, there are no innocent people. There’s us and there’s the enemy. Children and dogs are always the easiest casualties.”
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Allure of the techno-warrior

“Why serve an arrest warrant to some crack dealer with a .38?” asked one U.S. military officer who trained police SWAT teams in the 1990s. “With full armor, the right shit, and training, you can kick ass and have fun.”

As this quote implies, SWAT raids — conducted hundreds of times per year in cities large and small — foster a masculine culture of violence and a worship of a “techno-warrior” image of policing. SWAT raids are the ultimate in power, an adrenaline rush that is quickly habit-forming. Recruitment videos that emphasize this culture may, in turn, be changing the type of individual who seeks to become a police officer.

Texas SWAT team terrorizes organic farmers in August
Balko traces the militarization of police to the “drug war” ideology that began under President Nixon and escalated under Ronald Reagan. One specific clause in an omnibus crime bill of 1984, not considered particularly controversial at the time, ultimately produced a seismic shift in American policing. The asset forfeiture law allowed police to seize property, auction it off, and divide up the bounty, just so long as federal agents were even remotely involved in the investigation.

Asset forfeiture created a huge incentive for police to go after people in order to seize their property. Drug enforcement brought in boatloads of cash, much of which was reinvested into more battle gear. Police departments competed with each other for drug revenue, to the neglect of investigating violent crimes such as rape, robbery and murder. So, we end up with situations like the one a few years back in Oakland, California, in which a lack of investigative prioritization allowed a serial rapist on parole to remain free to prey on young African American girls until he finally made the mistake of gunning down four police officers.
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MurrayBacon’s comment:
Reducing prosecution may be a public good – when a father flicking a child’s ear is all that is being prosecuted.

The police were not very brave, when it came to prosecuting John Banks for electoral fraud. Unfortunately, the only issue was that he wasn’t quite so careful over paperwork and who handled the cheque, in terms of electoral honesty – John Banks behaviour was no worse than most of the Labour and National MPs.

It appears that much of the crime reduction is due to slow moving demographic changes in our society, rather than successful prosecutions and police work.
It is also important to take into account changes in societal tolerance of violence. Many of the offences now being prosecuted, wouldn’t even have been recorded as offences 40 years ago.
Quite careful analysis of crime statistics is required, to create a fair comparison of statistics over long periods of time, to remove the effects of political and police manipulation, changes in levels of violence for each offence level.

6 Responses to “Prosecution of Crime Reduced – Judith Collins”

  1. Skeptik says:

    I’d venture a guess that the biggest contributor to crime rates reducing has absolutely nothing to do with efforts by the police and the judiciary. The fact is over the last few years many people have obtained a smartphone which can quickly record events in real time. I reckon that has to be a constraining factor against many crimes. In effect there are millions of mobile CCTVs potentially capturing images and sound recordings of folks committing crimes.
    It will be interesting to see if politicians and law enforcement agencies push that fact under the rug and try to claim instead that they are responsible for crime reduction.

  2. Downunder says:

    I would say that in this case it is because of what happened in Manukau.

    Take the largest crime area in New Zealand and pour in massive resources and face to face policing and you get a good result.

    I think it has been an exceptionally good result for that area – but when you look at the nature of crime in places like Christchurch which is becoming particularly violent, I don’t think this is any cause for major celebration.

    Manipulating statistics for political advantage doesn’t necessarily indicate the state of society and in this case I think it does exactly the opposite – when it comes to the overall environment the New Zealand Police face and the nature of cases that turn up in our courts.

  3. hornet says:

    What a load of total bollocks – but all great timing pre-election – ……..when you gut staff and resource, when you deliberately remove investigative units that actually detect crime, when you make it harder and harder to actually make a complaint – reducing staff in the watch house is a great example… then of course crime statistics will be down – when you refuse to take complaints – ie the ombudsmans office has more excuses as to why NOT to investigate than in spending that energy actually taking a complaint – then perhaps we would all see the real figures presented as to what is really happening in NZ society……….

    refer article on NZ police association web site –

    http://www.policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/featured-articles/picking-pieces

    There has been a DELIBERATE attempt to stifle the police, reduce man power, re-direct their resources towards REVENUE collection – as opposed to CRIME PREVENTION and DETECTION……..which costs money and only makes politicians look bad…….just like we have NO corruption in NZ – yeh right – this from the same ombudsmans office that refuses to take complaints – so how would they ever know????

    Detectives now demanded to pull over four cars per hour and write tickets just confirms the real agenda……Revenue over protecting and serving……….

    And then lets not forget Roast Busters – where the it was disclosed that most major crimes are simply “FILED” – rather than investigated and prosecuted – you see if there is no prosecution – surprise surprise – prosecuted crime is lower – wow what a surprise Collins – does anyone ever try and hold these people to account with real questions……..no of course not, only APPROVED questions and pre – planned answers are permitted……..not allowed to put them on the spot with facts……..

    What about reporting what’s really going? No sorry cant have that either, only approved propaganda is permitted – because no real investigative journalists exist – the news simply reports the mantra handed out by reuters and the AP – thats the news folks…..not the facts……….not the truth, just the approved bollocks to make them look good………..

  4. Downunder says:

    Unfortunately Hornet that has now been par for the course for 30 years.

    It started with the 1984 Labour government which changed the way the Police Force was funded. The sharp knife went through the entire operation and hundreds of staff resigned for exactly the reason you are talking about, they were ordered to be paper weights rather than police officers.

    The politicians appeared to of the belief that officers would accept orders that lacked integrity.

    The ensuing mess became known as Hecus’s Circus.

    By the time the Bolger government came to power in 1990 and inherited Labour’s mess, tight budgets lowered the pay advances that had been achieved in the 6 years before 1984 and the operation was again rationalised by amalgamating the Ministry of transport operation into the Police.

    That landed the Police will hundreds of staff that would have never met the qualifying standards of the Police entry.

    Worse came when the Clark government arrived in 1999 and changed the Commissioner’s office to the Office of the Commissioner installing 10 of their cronies on $100,000 plus a year along with a civilian commissioner in an attempt to feminise Police Operations.

    This created further confusion, a lack of staff retention, which was perceived as a good thing as fresh faces would be easily trained. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way and years of experience and knowledge were once again lost.

    For a while there, the Police were begging the country for recruits, then they started pissing applicants around because the Police College was in such a mess with adjustments to new styles of training that better suited female applicants.

    I don’t bother following the trail of destruction in much detail now – I got sick of watching the commissioner meet his weekly apology requirement on Prime time TV – what a real morale booster.

    Although I couldn’t help notice the political ignorance of Anne Tolley (posted here) which clearly shows the sort of day to day political pressure staff are placed under to meet feminist dictates rather than enforcing the law and keeping the peace.

    To be honest I am surprised the current operation does as well as it does but it clearly lacks the cohesion and standards it previously owned and continues to suffer unacceptable levels of political interference.

  5. hornet says:

    Downunder – I hear you loud and clear – the police were CORPORATIZED – transferred from a military rank structure and a public service provider to a REVENUE collecting business unit…….

    yes you are correct – BANKS was responsible for the integration of traffic and criminal investigation – something other police departments had tried unsuccessfully in the past – it was a total failure – traffic enforcement was proven to introduce corruption into policing and was it was proven the two were best kept SEPARATE – but hey BANKS apparently knew better ……and as you rightly point out – all those FAILED police applicants became police officers with the stroke of a pen – many were promoted right up to before the merger so they can into police as SERGEANTS – and sadly the service levels to the public have declined ever since……..

    There is a current CULLING going on of the older good cops in high places are being actively moved into early retirement – replaced with those who will toe the line and do as they are told – collect revenue and file complaints more efficiently – a complete culture change is occurring ……and its not in the best interests of the public thats for sure………..just like they got rid of all the good managers in DOC – and replaced them with new Corporate puppets for revenue collection duties into the future……..

    What is sad for all of us in society – is it does not have to be this way – if we had people in power with genuine courage and moral fortitude and who actually did the “RIGHT” thing – we had a good police service in the past and it could be made good again ……….

  6. kiranjiharr says:

    one of the fathers here made a complaint about judge riddell. would be interesting to see how that turns out.. from the paperwork she was too busy denigrating the male instead of focussing on the applications objective which was allowing the child to travel…

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