6 Aug 2016

More cops for Northland after spate of murders

5:43 am on 6 August 2016

Northland will get six new police officers to help deal with a spate of homicides in the region.

01082016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Police Parade celebrating 75 years of women being in the police force.

Northland will be getting six new police officers to help deal with a spate in homicides and violent crimes in the region. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Police said there had been five homicides in Kaitaia since January, and several other high-profile and violent incidents in recent months in the Far North.

Yesterday a man appeared in court after fatally stabbing a 77-year-old man at a property in Te Kao the night before.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said there was no explanation for the increasing number of incidents.

"It's not unusual for a number of criminal offences to occur in an area around the same period of time. There's often no apparent reason for this, and we don't believe the homicides in Kaitaia are related."

However, he acknowledged it was putting strain on staff.

"We recognise that Northland Police have been kept busy investigating these and other incidents, and we're putting six extra staff into the district for 2016/17 (financial year)."

Additional staff will be appointed to help in the meantime, he said.

The Police Association said officers in Northland were struggling to cope with the sheer amount of serious crime in the area.

In its monthly magazine, Police News, it was reported that crime in Northland was up 17 per cent.