The Police in Hawkes Bay must have been taking lessons in marching backwards from the French. Their top cop has raised the white flag and said that policing gangs is beyond their means. Her local MP and Police Minister, Stuart Nash, surely must be holding his embarrassed head in his butter-fingered hands:

The proliferation of gang members in Hawke’s Bay and the now very evident consequences is “well beyond the police”.

Eastern District Commander Superintendent Tania Kura said it in a way that suggested anyone thinking police could somehow stem the number of young men signing up for a patch was a fool.

Kura and Eastern District investigations manager Detective Inspector Rob Jones fronted media in Hastings on Tuesday following two gang-related shootings in their district […]

Police said they would increase staff numbers after a gang shooting outside a Napier medical centre in November, said another reporter. Do the latest shootings mean it’s still not under control?

“How do you deal with people who are unpredictable?,” Kura says in response. “They’re not disciplined. The fact they don’t particularly want to come forward and talk to us … Asking hundreds of gang members to co-operate … It’s a little bit of a stretch to think it’s just the police who can do that.”

She points to drug dealing and patch protection as being possible sources of tension.

“They have a new cohort of younger members. I don’t think the older hierarchy are able to control the same way they used to. Whether it’s reached a crisis point? I think any event that happens like this is a crisis to a point,” she says.

Asked about the growth in gang members, Jones says the number of patched members has increased by 30-35 per cent in the past 2-3 years in Hawke’s Bay alone.

There’s a Gang Focus Unit, created last year to tackle organised crime, but if anyone thought it was any kind of panacea they’d be wrong.

It’s “not the silver bullet for this particular problem” says Kura. “This is well beyond police.”

“That’s why we talk about our community, our other agencies, about whanau and how they look after each other. If you have a look at how Eastern District has a high number of family harm incidents we attend on a daily basis. To me that’s all connected and if you think back on why would a person join a gang, well maybe there’s a little to be said about family dynamics as well,” Kura says.

Police are dealing with “people who are unpredictable, who aren’t disciplined and who don’t respect authority in any way”, she says.

Jones says police are talking to gang leaders “almost by the hour”. “Our immediate appeal to them is for calm, for some common sense to be applied. That isn’t always easy’.

Stuff

That press conference should be the last post of the Area Commander. She’s essentially surrendered to the gangs. What an embarrassment for the equally ineffective Stuart Nash as local MP and Police Minister.

Look at the words used in explaining their abject failure. Nothing but weak weasel words. They say they are “talking” with “gang leaders” and “whanau”.

Well, the talking has failed. The gangs don’t respect the Police and it is clear they certainly don’t fear them. Perhaps this is why Police are now harassing law-abiding firearms owners and not policing actual criminals.

I can’t wait for the Police Minister to announce that Police have established new internal threat levels.  They would be, from low to high:

  • RUN
  • HIDE
  • SURRENDER
  • COLLABORATE

After the altercation in Taradale, and in light of the robbery of 12 guns from the Palmerston North Police station, Police have raised their threat alert level from “HIDE” to “SURRENDER.”

The Police need to realise that their wombling ways need to come to an end. Treating actual criminals with kid gloves and doffing one’s cap to “gang leaders” hasn’t really worked has it?

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