7 Nov 2016

New Caledonia welcomes French response to crime

12:28 pm on 7 November 2016

New Caledonia's politicians have welcomed a French government commitment to help address youth crime in the territory.

At a weekend meeting involving the interior and justice ministers, Paris said it would send an extra 53 police to New Caledonia from February and set up a special unit to counter youth delinquency after last month five policemen were injured by gunshot wounds.

A New Caledonian member of the French legislature Philippe Gomes said France has listened to the locals' demands and the mayor of Noumea Sonia Lagarde said this will allow New Caledonian police officers serving in France to return.

New Caledonian pro-independence politician Roch Wamytan

New Caledonian pro-independence politician Roch Wamytan Photo: AFP

The pro-independence leader Roch Wamytan said customary authorities need to be tied in to the measures as most crimes have been committed by Kanaks, but describing some of the measures like using a hammer to kill a fly.

A former president Harold Martin said France at last stopped playing down the seriousness of the problem but that the measures won't be enough as young Kanaks from the east coast raid in the Noumea area.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs