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Government funding for high-risk retail crime prevention

NZ Security Magazine, Feb/Mar 2018

Police Minister Stuart NashPolice Minister Stuart Nash

 

Greater financial support for crime prevention measures in high-risk retail businesses is being made available by the Government after a review by Police Minister Stuart Nash.

 

The previous government announced in June 2017 that $1.8 million would be set aside for the installation of devices like audible alarms, fog cannons, and DNA spray in premises identified by Police as high risk. However financial barriers deterred many business owners from taking up the assistance, and by November equipment had been installed in just three locations, two in Auckland and one in Wellington.

“I was concerned to learn that many shop owners declined to take part in the scheme because the costs were prohibitive,” said Mr Nash.

“The previous scheme required businesses to contribute 50 percent of the cost but that was beyond the reach of many. A fog cannon can cost around $4,000, while a DNA spray system can be more than $3,000 and an audible alarm can be around $1,700.

“I have reviewed the way this fund is allocated and decided that greater financial support is needed to make this a viable option for the most at-risk business owners. Many of these businesses, such as dairies and superettes, have only very small profit margins and were facing a potential bill of several thousand dollars for these crime prevention tools.

The government has increased the subsidy so at-risk business owners will contribute no more than $250 towards the cost of a fog cannon. Already a further 17 stores have installed fog cannons during December and January, while eight more are awaiting fit-out.

“I encourage all eligible shop owners to take advantage of the changes to this scheme,” said the minister.

An estimated 400 premises are expected to qualify, with most spread across wider Auckland, and others in Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and other centres.

Police determine eligibility for qualification via a process of security audits, visiting vulnerable small businesses, such as dairies and superettes, to undertake assessments. Those determined most at risk of robbery are eligible for the subsidised assistance.

This determination is based on factors such as a history of aggravated robberies, burglaries and thefts, as well as calls to Police in relation to issues like graffiti and suspicious activity. Police arrange for a private sector security firm to install the devices.

 

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“These are short term measures and the government remains focused on longer term ways to reduce crime and improve public safety. Our coalition agreement with New Zealand First undertakes to work towards recruiting 1,800 extra Police over three years. We are also targeting organised crime, which will interrupt the supply chains for methamphetamine and other drugs, so that we can remove the incentives for people to commit crimes to fund their habits.

According to the Government, funding for the initial phase of recruitment, training and support of the 1,800 extra police will be made available in the government’s first budget, to be delivered in May for the 2018/19 financial year. The recruitment will be spread over three financial years.

“I encourage all small business owners who are concerned about crime prevention to talk to their local Police, who can offer specialist advice about enhancing security for staff and premises,” Mr Nash said.

Frontline constables in public safety teams can visit shops to provide advice on crime prevention techniques. This could include measures to enhance visibility both within and outside the shop; create more secure storage and display of high value items like cigarettes and alcohol; develop a safe exit plan; install CCTV cameras; upgrade lighting; rearrange the layout of stores; and improve cash handling practices.

For the best advice on physical security and risk management, contact a licensed security consultant.

 

RELATED ARTICLES

Retail sector workers at high risk of facing robbery

NZ Security Magazine, Dec 2017/Jan 2018

“Please Help” App: Crime prevention through technology

NZ Security Magazine, Aug/Sep 2017

Retail Sector – where safety and security collide

NZ Security Magazine, Dec 2015/Jan 2016

 

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