Manage episode 367024789 series 2381161
There's an old political wisdom that if you've got bad news to tell, drop the news last thing on Friday so it gets buried by the weekend.
So I was a bit confused to be watching One News on Friday with John Campbell oozing and gesticulating all over the screen, telling a story that on the surface seemed to be good news.
1News exclusively revealed that nearly 40,000 charges have been laid with over 8,300 people arrested to date as part of Operation Cobalt, their operation against gang activities.
The operation was originally set up after an intensive spate of Killer Beez and Tribesmen-linked shootings in Auckland last year.
Police said the arrests include patched gang members, gang prospects, and gang associates.
Over 400 firearms have been seized and more than 1,100 search warrants executed. By any metric this is a significant blow against organised crime.
Now the cynic in me immediately thought the Labour Party has leaked this before the National Party conference, which we could all tell was going to be hard on crime and law and order.
But closer inspection saw the release came from the Police and the tone was defiant.
Detective Superintendent Uraia Vakaruru, the officer in charge of the operation, told 1News that seizing prized possessions —for example, a gang member's motorbike— tends to really send a strong message. He said police are just focusing on the business at hand.
I get their pride in their work and I've been worried about police morale for a while.
With opposition parties and editorial writers bellowing away that the government is soft on crime, day in and day out for weeks, every sector of our justice system gets tarred with the brush.
After the gang funeral a week ago the police were also criticised for their inaction by people with no operational experience at all.
But these figures and the nine arrests made in the week after the tangi says to me that the police are fighting crime smart rather than stupid. The police have to play by the rules and they have to make arrests stick into corrections.
Letting the perception that the police are soft on crime run rampant in the media sends a bigger signal to criminals than anything else. The fact that National and ACT beat this drum to beat Labour in an electoral contest is regrettable.
I'd like to take this opportunity to praise the police and thank them for their work.
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