Dairy owners need weapons to ward off robbers - crime prevention group

A crime prevention group fed up with attacks on dairies says shopkeepers should be allowed to arm themselves to prevent violent robberies.

Ash Darji, the group's vice president, says there also needs to be harsher penalties put in place to discourage young people from carrying out the crimes.

He told The AM Show that the group is delivering a petition to Parliament today to urge the Government to give more support for dairy owners, who are increasingly being targeted by armed thieves.

"We want a minister to realise this is getting out of hand, and the time has come to take some action," he said.

"This type of attack is becoming more frequent, and as time as gone on, we realise it's not just a shopkeeper's issue.

"As a New Zealand society we want to work in a partnership, because at the end of the day this reflects internationally on how we look after our citizens."

Armed robberies have been increasing in recent years, with a rise of nearly 50 percent in July 2017 compared to the same month two years prior. The increase is thought to be linked to the rising price of tobacco.

Mr Darji said there were two main remedies for the offending; stronger consequences for youth found guilty of armed robberies, and the ability for shopkeepers to arm themselves.

"We definitely want harsher penalties on this kind of offending done by youth," he explained.

"This crime is getting out of hand by youth and because of their age, they're getting away with it. When they come back, they're reoffending again.

"The time has come for shopkeepers to arm themselves as well. That's something we're going to have to discuss amongst ourselves... but there are some dairy owners getting fed up now.

"That's the only way we can protect ourselves, because if we don't get protection from the Government, something else has got to be done."

Mr Darji says he doesn't know of any shopkeepers who are already using firearms to protect themselves, but that because of the threat, "it is getting to that stage".