18 Oct 2013

Iwi-police scheme helps drive down prosecution rates

6:32 am on 18 October 2013

One of the country's top ranking Maori police officers, Superintendent Wally Haumaha, says an iwi-police crime prevention scheme is helping to drive down the number of people going to court for offences such as shoplifting and disorderly behaviour.

The police launched a joint strategy with iwi last December, called Turning of the Tide, which aims to cut Maori prosecution rates by 25% by 2018.

It provides guidelines to help officers to interact differently with Maori, so an arresting officer can determine if someone should be prosecuted or considered for The Turning of the Tide strategy.

Superintendent Wally Haumaha, who's the general manager of Maori, Pacific and Ethnic Services, says the joint initiative is helping police reduce the number of people being prosecuted for minor offences.

He says over the past two and a half years to June, 56,000 fewer people have appeared in court.

Mr Haumaha says that's good news for Maori who would be charged with offences such possession of cannabis, fighting in a public place, or breaching the liquor ban.

Listen to the Te Ahi Kaa programme on Sunday just after 6pm to hear more from Superintendent Wally Haumaha.