“Despite the Prime Minister ‘disputing the suggestion’ there was a youth crime problem only a few days ago in Parliament, the Government has confirmed that ram raids committed by young people are out of control,” says ACT’s Police spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“I asked Minister of Police Chris Hipkins in Parliament how many ram raids have taken place in the last three months by offenders under the age of 18, he said that there has been 129 ram raids recorded, and that since May 2022 38 offenders have been identified or arrested, with almost all of them under the age of 18.

“On Tuesday the Prime Minister said in Parliament she “disputed the suggestion that overall we have a proliferation of criminal acts by young people because there has not been evidence to suggest that.” Judging by these numbers her Government had the evidence all along, she just hadn’t bothered to read it.

“The Government can’t claim it doesn’t know the scale of the problem now, but there’s little evidence they’re making any strides to fix it.

“Ram raids are one of the major problems affecting New Zealanders right now, and Labour has not gone hard or early.

“Labour’s soft on crime approach has seen these offences erupt. Youth Aid budgets have been cut by $10 million and officers have told me that these offenders have no fear of consequence. Much of the current crimewave is being caused by re-offenders which shows that not enough is being done to steer these kids away from a life of crime.

“With many years of experience as a Youth Aid Police Officer, I know well the positive impact intervention can have on troubled youth. There needs to be greater involvement in these kids’ lives, before they commit more serious crimes.

“As part of our recent Law and Order policy launch, ACT proposed instant, practical penalties for young offenders, giving police the power to deal with offences on the spot.

“For every crime committed there is a victim who deserves better, and when youth is involved, the stakes are even higher – we can’t sit by while young New Zealanders become criminals.”

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Chris Baillie