Friday, July 14, 2006

Spend it on prevention

It'll be mildly interesting watching Labour deal with the report described on the front-page of today's NZ Herald;

Crime costs New Zealand $9.1 billion a year, and Government efforts to fight it are not working, says a hard-hitting Treasury report.

But according to Annette King, on becoming Minister of Police, “In the past six years, we have added more than 1400 police staff, the crime rate has reduced 13.8 percent, and crime resolution rates are increasingly steadily. Recorded crime is down to levels last seen over 20 years ago and our resolution rates equate exceedingly well with other police agencies world-wide."

Back to the Herald, It singles out the rising number of people in prison and the cost of keeping them there, as an example, and makes several suggestions aimed at reducing both.

They include reviewing the policy of longer sentences and re-introducing suspended sentences.


But Labour has claimed repeatedly that crime is down due, in part, to the success of the Sentencing and Parole Reform Act.

Personally I don't mind if we spend 7 percent of gdp on crime but let's get the balance right. The figures should look more like $7b on fighting and preventing crime and $2b on picking up the costs of any failure. Not the other way around.

Oh, and the first thing we should be doing is discouraging the births of more budding criminals right now.

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