Police roll out extra resources to assist small businesses struck by ram-raids

With the addition of newly-trained staff police were hoping to complete 40-50 security assessments per week.
With the addition of newly-trained staff police were hoping to complete 40-50 security assessments per week. Photo credit: RNZ


Police are putting extra resources into trying to stop ram raids, which are affecting businesses particularly in Auckland.

The announcement follows revelations that just five stores in Tamaki Makaurau have received security upgrades as part of a $6 million crime prevention support fund launched by the government in May.

Businesses have told Checkpoint it's near impossible to access the money.  

Overnight, there have been at least another half dozen smash and grabs committed and in the past year numbers have more than doubled. 

In the wake of fierce criticism, police are now promising extra resources to protect businesses from ram raiders with more than a dozen officers being trained to carry out security assessments. 

Acting assistant police commissioner Dave Lynch told Checkpoint the additional staff would be tasked to the retail crime prevention programme over the coming weeks to assist in approving upgrades for certain businesses.

Lynch said police had received permission to enter an emergency procurement process which he hoped would allow them to roll out "targeted hardening packages" to eligible businesses sooner.

The efforts would be focused on small businesses that had previously been victim of a ram raid, he said.

"What we're doing is working on past victimisations of small retailers, but the first thing is they do have to meet the MBIE definition of a small business so anyone can contact the police with two layers of response and ask for some support [and] some advice around some basic target hardening measures.

"In addition to that, those who are eligible for a small retail crime prevention fund will have an additional assessment and that's where we're training a dozen or so staff at the moment."

Small businesses in locations regarded as crime hotspots would be prioritised to ensure the programme made the most of the funding, Lynch said. 

Police had so far completed 21 assessments and they were working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment  to get more done as fast as possible.

The newly trained police staff were trained in crime prevention through environmental design and would be working with 18 providers to roll out the security measures nationwide, he said.

Security upgrades that small businesses could receive included bollards, fog cannons and more, Lynch said.

"We're talking fog cannons, shatterproof toughened glass, bollards, roller doors you know lighting, there's a whole raft of things that would go into consideration but it does really need a case by case assessment. And that's what those assessors will be trained to do."

With the addition of newly trained staff police were hoping to complete 40-50 security assessments per week, Lynch said.