New Zealand at lowest murder rate in 40 years - police

The country's murder rate is the lowest it has been in 40 years, police say.

They've released figures showing the number of homicides in New Zealand is declining.

A new police report looked into 686 homicides, including murder and manslaughter, over a 10-year period.

On average there were 74 homicides a year between 2007 and 2011, dropping to 63 between 2012 and 2016.

The number of homicides sat at 58 in 2016. In 2017 it was even lower, at 48. 

The report also shows the murder rate is at its lowest since 1970, and under half of the rate in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Det Supt Tim Anderson said although the rate is declining, each of these deaths represented a grieving family.

"Victims are at the heart of everything police does and we are committed to bringing a sense of closure to their families by holding those responsible to account.

"It is this commitment and dedication which saw police resolve more than 96 percent of homicide cases."

However the number of children who were victims was disturbing, Det Supt Anderson said.

"We know that family harm is a serious issue that affects people of all ages and across all parts of society."

Sixty-three people were killed by either their current or ex-partner between 2007 and 2011, dropping to 52 between 2012 and 2016. Around 75 percent of the victims were female. 

The report found approximately a third of all homicide victims were Māori and around 62 percent of all victims were male. Children under five made up 12 percent of homicide victims.

Newshub.