Asian backlash building for sometime
PM urges community to engage with police
Prime Minister Helen Clark today urged the South Auckland community to work with police and not take the law into their own hands. She also gave details of a bill to look at alcohol sales which has been raised as an issue in recent violence in the area. Three people of Asian descent have died in homicides in the South Auckland area in the past two weeks, and in at least one case, the shooting of liquor store owner Navtej Singh, there were criticisms of the emergency service response. An Asian anti-crime group was set up three months ago in South Auckland and it is now taking a more proactive attitude. "We are forming to protect our own people," member Peter Low told Radio New Zealand. "If the police don't do it, we are going to do it ourselves. Simple as that."
This Asian backlash to perceptions of being the target of crime with calls for vigilante groups has been bubbling along for sometime now. When I was researching for Stake Out 3 years ago, we looked into Asian Crime and found that much of the community simply didn’t feel like they could reach out to the Police as there were few Police who could speak their language or understand the cultural nuances and there have been trust issues that were never resolved. What needs to happen is the Police need to sit down with the Asian community and start building trust so that the Asian community believe that they will be understood and will be treated fairly and that our Police force isn’t corrupted by bribery, get these understandings running and calls for vigilante groups will dry up, they are a symptom of a community that feels unsafe, the Police need to do more to make them feel they will be responded to, it is a process that has woefully been undervalued for a long time.