1 Aug 2017

Fatal stabbing prompts calls for action in Hamilton

1:58 pm on 1 August 2017

The fatal stabbing of Norman Kingi in Hamilton over the weekend has prompted calls for more to be done to prevent another tragedy before it's too late.

Norman Kingi

Norman Kingi Photo: Supplied

Mr Kingi was stabbed after disturbing a group of young people breaking into a vehicle on Friday night. He died in hospital.

Two girls aged 15 and 13 have been charged with aggravated wounding and unlawful interference with a motor vehicle, while a 12-year-old girl has been referred to Youth Aid.

The two older youths will re-appear in Hamilton Youth Court on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Youth justice: How the process works

Police said they were seeking anybody who saw or had contact with the group of three girls, who were wearing dark clothing and walking together in the area of Dinsdale and Nawton, between 10pm and 1am Friday night and Saturday morning.

In the suburb where he died, locals were reluctant to comment on the record.

But one community worker, who did not want to be identified, said action needed to be taken to prevent further tragedies.

"Something needs to be done about our rangatahi that our roaming the streets, uneducated, have nothing better to do than go out stealing, going out and committing crime."

While there were lots of positive initiatives for young people in the area, fears about crime and safety had been growing following the loss of community police officers several years ago, the community worker said.

"Aroha mai to that man and the loss, I can feel where his family is coming from. But also us here that live here within Nawton we don't have much security."

Sue Moroney during caucus run 1.03.16

Sue Moroney. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Labour List MP Sue Moroney said she met friends of Mr Kingi's yesterday and they were worried about the deterioration of their community.

"They are concerned about the youth crime and how out of control that's getting and they're just devastated about what's happened.

"They've told me that Norm was one of the best people you could ever hope to come across and effectively on that tragic night him and his wife were doing the right thing, they were trying to protect their community."

Ms Moroney said community police had been stripped away from the city's streets and she was outraged the law and order select committee refused to hear from petitioners calling for their reinstatement earlier this year.

"We've now had shootings and murders on the streets of Melville, we've now had a stabbing...on the streets of Nawton. Those were two communities that three or four years ago had great community cops operating in their community and they've been taken away and now what we are seeing is the escalation of petty crimes culminating in these sorts of tragedies."

Western Community Centre manager Neil Tolan agreed a lack of resources for community policing was taking its toll.

"They were right across the community and they lived and breathed it, so they knew the contacts, knew the networks and had the trust of the community and so the community would go to them if they had any underlying issues."

And Hamilton councillor James Casson, who was the officer in charge of the North Hamilton Community Policing Centre, said police officers in town were telling him they were overworked and frustrated they were not able to undertake more grass roots policing.

"The police aren't out in the community and have lost a lot of face to face, a lot of that is not happening now so the poor buggers on the street are going from job to job to job and haven't got a lot of time for proactive policing. It's just the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff."

But Hamilton West MP, National's Tim Macindoe said while Mr Kingi's death was tragic, care should be taken not to rush to judgement on the basis of a ghastly isolated incident.

"This is not something that's happening regularly on the streets of my electorate."

Tim Macindoe.

Tim Macindoe. Photo: NATIONAL PARTY

Mr Macindoe said the government had made a clear commitment to substantially increase police numbers.

"In my own region, the Waikato region we are getting an extra 100 police. The first of those new police recruits are in training now and so we'll have more on the streets of the region very very soon."

And police are refuting claims that there has been any loss of community policing in the city.

There was now a focus on particular groups of people and locations, with strong community patrols and school community officers, District Commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said in a statement.

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