Tauranga's mayor calls for more police amid 'extraordinary rise of violence' in Bay of Plenty

Source: 1News

The Mayor of Tauranga is calling for Government action following a rise in violence around the region and a shooting in Omanawa yesterday which saw two men killed.

Tenby Powell says there has been an "extraordinary rise of violence" recently, with a number of shootings, suspected to be gang-related, around the Bay of Plenty region. 

Two of those shootings happened as recently as January - one in Hairini, and one in Te Puke within 24 hours of each other.

Mr Powell says he's not suggesting that yesterday's shooting is gang related, but that the city has a "serious gang issue and it's one that is rising". 

He says residents have already been in touch with him following the Omanawa shooting, fearful for their lives, and reiterated he wants the Government to step in. 

"It's very alarming and already this morning I’ve had a number of messages from residents shocked at the level of violence that we’re experiencing," says Mr Powell. 

"People feel scared and they're feeling angry," he says. 

He would like to meet with Government and police, and iwi. 

"Together with police, together with community members and together with iwi we are all in this together and it's very important that we hear from all parties who are affected by what has been an extraordinary rise of violence in Tauranga," says Mr Powell. 

"The dynamic has shifted so greatly and so fast that people are taken aback by it," he says. 

Mr Powell says if police are under-resourced at this time he would like to see more police in the city to deal with the rise in violence. 

"What I’ve asked specifically for here in Tauranga is if we are under-resourced at this time can we have a surge and can we have a surge of police that are trained in these issues," he says. 

"What I'm interested in is getting everybody together to talk about why this is happening to understand it and what we're going to do about it over the long term."