People angry about escalating crime

People have expressed anger over the perceived inability of the police to do anything about escalating crime in a meeting in Thames. The Deputy Prime Minister was there to get the message (hopefully).

Stuff: Paula Bennett faces angry crowd at Thames meeting

The deputy prime minister faced a hostile crowd, fed-up with escalating crime, when she visited Thames.

Paula Bennett, who is also police minister, held a public meeting on Wednesday at the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre to discuss residents’ growing concern about assaults, burglaries and drug offences in the area.

The meeting was a full-house with many voicing their frustrations and holding signs saying they had “more teeth than the NZ police”.

There must be particular problems with crimes in the Thames area.

Ordinary people emotionally expressing concerns should give Bennett a strong message.

Thames High School student Paris Lee, 17, told Bennett a friend of hers was recently hospitalised with concussion after being attacked by other students.

“Those students should not be allowed back at our school and they are and they are scaring me and my friends. We can’t do anything about being attacked at school and the police can’t do anything about it.

“It’s so wrong, we don’t feel safe and we need that, all of us.”

Her mother, Jeanette Lee, said she was planning to leave the area to keep her child safe.

“I now have to leave because my child got a text saying ‘we know where you live, you’re next’ and the police can’t do anything about it.”

That sounds bad.

They may not have been encouraged by Bennett’s response.

Bennett disagreed, saying police, the school and the community could do something about it.

“Under 17 year olds can be held to account. They can’t get away with hitting people, they can’t get away with violence,” she said.

Could do something in theory can be different to being able to do anything effective in practice.

Bennett said Paris was brave to speak out and she made time to speak to her afterwards.

“There’s no way that you shouldn’t feel safe in school . . . that is our job and we want to talk to you.”

I think that a lot of people at school and on the streets and in their homes feel unsafe. I don’t know if Bennett will have been very reassuring.

After the meeting principal Dave Sim said there had been two incidents at the school recently.

He saw the assault last week and a student had been suspended, he said.

“There were a number of staff present and we acted quickly to diffuse the situation,” he said.

The board of trustees was now considering whether the student would return to school with conditions or be excluded from the school, he said.

An attack causing concussion should have more significant consequences than suspension from school. It sounds like a serious assault that could have caused ling term brain injuries.

One woman said she could no longer live in her own home after police took 35 minutes to attend a home invasion in her house earlier this year.

“I cannot live in my own home knowing it could happen again because thirty one minutes is a long time when you live on your own as a woman. How do I deal with that?”

Bennett said that must be “absolutely terrifying” for the woman.

Yes, it would be.

The Government recently announced an increase in police numbers by about a thousand, but numbers in press releases aren’t any comfort when people face real problems and fears in their communities, schools and homes.


Also in today’s news: Whangarei teenager’s skull fractured after roadside attack

Jay Rihia-Neumann, 16, was walking home with friends after school on Monday when six adults and two teenagers got out of a car on Corks Rd in Tikipunga and attacked them.

Adults attacking kids on their way home from school.

Joshua Neumann said his son was struck on the side of the head with an axe handle during the attack, on Jay and at least one of his friends.

Mr Neumann said it was a case of his son being in the wrong place at the wrong time and he believed the attack was linked to a dispute involving a one of his friends.

The 16-year-old Kamo High School student was rushed to Whangarei Hospital before he was transported to the Auckland City Hospital where he underwent a four-hour operation on Tuesday afternoon.

More awful violence.

From London’s River Bus

Missy has posted here about her commutes on London’s River Bus service:

I am enjoying my commute home tonight, sun shining, blue sky, and a gorgeous view from the river bus. I hope I never get bored with, or sick of, the view of tower bridge as the boat approaches, or of Greenwich as we pass. London is a beautiful city and best seen from the water – or top of a double decker bus.

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A Thames Clipper on the river by St Paul’s Cathedral

Missy last month:

I am heading home from a few after work drinks, and have decided to take the Riverbus. Currently I am looking out the window at Tower Bridge – amazing in daylight, but breathtaking at night – as is most of London. I feel so lucky to be living and working here, some days I still punch myself as I can hardly believe it. It really is an incredible city.

Pickled Possum asked:

Morning Missy I am there on the riverbus, with you, only in my mind of course lol
Any chance of a picture so we can see what you see and so eloquently write about?

Here are some photos Missy has taken over the last week or so.

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Sunrise looking East from Woolwich – so down past the Thames Barrier, and in the distance is Essex and Kent (Essex north of the River, Kent is South)

Thanks Missy. London is one of the world’s great cities, and it looks great from the water in a variety of moods.