Patrol leader calls for curfews and more cops after Kaikohe youth rampage
A Northland community leader is calling for law changes enabling curfews after youths rampaged through the town on the weekend.
Kaikohe community patrol leader Tony Taylor said about 15 to 20 youngsters aged 12 to 14 caused "havoc around town" on the night of March 17, breaking into The Shed liquor store and stealing about 10 boxes of beer.
The following morning about 1am, the group tried to break into the Mobil service station.
"The biggest problem is that we have no police in town," Taylor said.
"They were dealing with incidents in Kerikeri and Paihia for St Patricks Day.
"There were five cops on Saturday night and three last night [Sunday] to cover Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Kaeo and Russell. So if something happens in Russell and they are all over there, there is no one to cover the Mid North."
He says there was one sergeant in Kaikohe to attend the party and the sergeant couldn't confront 15-20 youths.
They managed to arrest two youths that night and another on Saturday.
Taylor says he has reviewed CCTV footage and has managed to identify most of the group members.
He hopes that he can convince the Far North District Council to bring about an emergency bylaw to enforce a curfew for young people.
"We are going to change the town - it is a really good town. There are just a few dysfunctional families and we have got to look at how to solve the dysfunctional people.
"They [young people] shouldn't be out, parents don't care, we need a law change."
Northland MP Winston Peters says more police are needed in Northland.
"The thin blue line has been broken by this Government – once we have it restored, and identify the culprits, a serious focus must go on the families involved.
"The youth justice age should not have been raised...The offenders should be taking responsibility for their action."
Mid-Far North Area Commander Inspector Alan Symonds acknowledged Northland Police staff had been "busy managing a number of investigations this year".
"However, this has been recognised and additional investigative staff have been added to the Northland Police District staffing for the 2016/17 year," he said.
"These extra staff will provide additional support and cover for existing staff and will support a focus on preventing and investigating volume crime types, such as car theft and burglary."