“Gang violence in our community is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”
This is the message from Western Bay of Plenty Area Commander Inspector Clifford Paxton.
Clifford is responding to concerns that have risen following a stabbing on The Strand, a shooting in Hairini, a suspected arson in Greerton and a shooting near Te Puke in recent weeks.
“Police would like to reassure the community that we are treating the recent incidents in the Western Bay of Plenty extremely seriously, and the safety and wellbeing of everyone is our priority.
“We acknowledge the alarm that these recent incidents have caused.
“We know tensions between gangs have caused fears for safety to arise, however, we would like to reassure people that general members of the public are not the focus of those tensions.”
Clifford says the criminal and antisocial behaviour of gangs has a detrimental effect on communities, and their actions, lifestyle and a range of unlawful behaviour contribute to people feeling unsafe.
“Following recent incidents, we have increased the police presence in the area.
“The community can assist - where people are seeing things that concern them, we want to know.
“We are already seeing good support from our communities and we'd like to thank them for that support today.”
Anyone who has immediate concerns for the safety of themselves or others should call 111.
Anyone who would like to report anything of a less urgent nature can phone 105.