Cops on buses now? Is this the New Zealand we want? | Josie Pagani

JOSIE PAGANI

STRAIGHT AND TRUE

Cops on buses now? Is this the New Zealand we want?

Fifteen teenagers - children - boarded a bus in Queensgate mall - Lower Hutt, and started causing trouble, playing music, shouting and carrying on. Next thing, multiple people were injured. Six people taken into custody. One 19 years old - the rest referred to Youth Services. In other words, children. Now there are calls for a dedicated team of roving uniformed and plain-clothed police to cover public transport to stop violence, graffiti and anti-social behaviour.

UK PM Tony Blair had a way of talking about crime that makes sense to most of us. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. Like all good clichés, his formula is well-worn because it is obvious.

Most of us understand some of these kids have never had a chance. The OT kids or parents who've been hopeless. More than 70 percent of them are not attending school on a regular basis. So sort out the truancy. Fund the community organisations who know these kids to get them on the right track.

The public will only listen to politicians who show understanding of their own plight as potential victims. There have to be ways of getting these kids ram raiding or intimidating people on buses - off the streets now. Deal with the source of the problem - and do it now - tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. And give the cops whatever they need to do the job of policing. That's step one.

Josie's editorial on Today FM is here.