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Public help can reduce crime

New Zealand Police have a unique problem: against a scenario of rising crime both at home and on the streets, there is growing public apathy towards the so called ‘establishment’ precluding them from offering assistance and support that could make our city safer and more prosperous.

Time and again, police officials have appealed to the people to remain vigilant and come forward with information that could lead to an early solution to an offence committed-solution that could mean apprehending the perpetrator/s, offering relief to the victims concerned and most important of all, serving as a deterrent to the criminal elements in the society. While the people of other ethnic groups are far more cooperative, it is alleged that members of the South Asian community by and large remain indifferent.

Such blatant apathy is of course not far to seek. Migrants from South Asia are perhaps subject to a different police regime in the countries of their erstwhile residence. There are tales of genuine citizens finding themselves viewed as suspects and as such victimised by the police. There are also tales of corruption among the law enforcement officers, while in some cases, the underworld, politicians and other powerful groups dominate the police force, constraining them to remain inactive. As members of the public try to do their civic duty, they are hassled, tortured and in some cases even ‘done with.’

But New Zealand is a civilised society where the rule of the law reigns supreme and the police are above temptation, fear and other factors that may proscribe them from conducting their business. Apart from ensuring the confidentiality of those offering help, our police are known to go an extra mile to ensure the safety of such people.

Community groups, neighbourhood support teams, welfare centres and other voluntary organisations must instill confidence in the members of the Indian segment, educate them on the need to be proactive in solving crime and encourage them to volunteer information to the authorities to enable them to bring the criminals to justice early.

If we are to build a society that is safer and more secure, we must play an active role.

No family can afford to have a ‘Kahu experience.’ Neither can any of us be silent spectators to a theft, a murder or any other offence being committed.

Community is what we make and the police are but a part of our social fabric.

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