The police minister was warned about the “significant increase” in ram raids when he took on the portfolio earlier this year.
The government has proactively released the briefings for incoming ministers – documents provided to new ministers to help them acclimatise to the role.
Chris Hipkins, who replaced embattled police minister Poto Williams after a cabinet reshuffle in June, was told that ram raids had increased from 10 per month in 2018 to 40 per month over the first three months of 2022. “There is significant public concern in a recent spike in ram-raids in Tāmaki Makaurau, Waikato and Bay of Plenty, which has also driven an increase in unlawful taking of motor vehicles,” the briefing to Hipkins read.
“Many offenders are under 17-years-old, including children as young as seven. The recent offending is likely driven by a combination of young people exposed to a negative home environment, disengaged from school and their communities, the monetary gain from stealing certain goods, and the use of social media, particularly TikTok, to promote their criminal offending and gain notoriety.”
Speaking to Newstalk ZB this morning, Hipkins said he was concerned by the spike in crime. “This hasn’t sort of suddenly sprung from nowhere, these young people are disengaged from the rest of society. They’re not fearing the consequences of their actions and I think that is something to be concerned about,” he said.
Meanwhile, the police briefing to Hipkins also revealed concern about the government’s proposed hate speech legislation. “Proposed new… legislation and response models would increase public expectations of police, including in areas where the conduct does not meet the criminal threshold,” police said. “It is expected there will be considerable victim impacts, scrutiny, and media attention from this type of offending. We have seen overseas that Police’s role in investigating this type of issue can be a polarising issue.”