Police Minister admits failure on re-offending rates


Police and Corrections Minister Judith Collins has admitted failure on a goal of lowering prisoner re-offending rates.

The Corrections Department had committed to slashing the reoffending rate by 25 percent by June 2017.

But Judith Collins has told The Nation that's now looking unlikely.

"Because the overall target is on reoffending, not reoffenders, that actually means we haven't reached it yet, and obviously I think it'll be very hard to get there. That doesn't mean to say we shouldn't keep going."

In March 2012, after winning a second term in Government, Prime Minister John Key said: "I expect a reduction in the crime rate. And that doesn't just mean total crime, it also means violent crime and it means youth crime. I want to see all these measures coming down.

"They are not a wish list, they are a to-do list."

Ms Collins says she called Police Commissioner Mike Bush in to refocus police efforts on burglaries. They have now launched a nationwide operation focused on burglaries and targeting youth offending.

Part of the operation involves moving 100 police off road policing duties to work on burglaries.

"Burglaries are really important," she says. "And police will tell you that most burglaries are committed by people under the age of 24-years-old."

In the 18 months to the end of last year almost 100,000 break-ins were reported, and only nine percent were solved.

In 2011 Ms Collins told The Nation they "cannot continue to keep locking up people at the rate we have over past decade".

The prison population has risen, but Ms Collins says New Zealand doesn't need another prison.

She says part of the rising numbers is caused by remand prisoners, such as violent offenders who have not been granted bail.