Cop bashing 'badge of honour' for young crims

01:43, Jan 31 2009

Police bashing is seen as a badge of honour by young criminals in Northland, says the region's top cop.

Relieving Whangarei/Kaipara police area commander Murray Hodson said he had seen a "shift in attitude" in regards to assaulting police, the Northern Advocate reported.

He pointed to a police officer who, earlier this month, had been attacked twice in one 10-hour shift – first bitten on her hand and later punched in her face. Mr Hodson said the assault highlighted a "total lack of respect" and a shift in attitude of many criminals.

Offenders seemed to feel they had nothing to lose by assaulting police – and, if anything, thought they gained status by doing so, he said.

Mr Hodson's comments were made during a report to the Whangarei District Council yesterday.

He told the council he was also concerned about the young age at which people were starting to commit serious crimes.

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Two boys, aged 12 and nine , allegedly threatened a shop assistant with a screwdriver and knife, saying they were going to stab and rape her, earlier this month, he said.

"This is a very serious crime incident. . .which is very traumatic for victims and also very time consuming for our local police to investigate," Mr Hodson said.

"I often ask myself, what causes a person so young to commit such serious crimes?

"Is it the non-existence of good parenting for the child, lack of values, lack of respect for another person or a societal problem in that we have not provided adequate support for the greater family regarding their needs?

"We have young gangs of criminals who are quite active in this area. As soon as we close one group down another one comes out of the woodwork," Mr Hodson told the councillors.

- NZPA