‘Huge increase’ in bail breaches


The Clutha Leader spoke to Sergeant Chris Wakelin with an eye to informing the public about issues of concern in the district.

People breaching bail conditions are keeping police in Balclutha busy.

“We’re having a huge increase in people not sticking to bail conditions,’’ Sergeant Chris Wakelin, of Balclutha, said.

‘‘That leads on to us arresting them again and putting them through the whole process.”

Common ways people had been breaching bail included not sticking to a curfew, drinking alcohol when they were not supposed to and contacting people they were not meant to.

“It also includes people re-offending while on bail . . . Just making bad decisions really.”

Repeatedly putting offenders through the court system was “not helping them, not helping their victims and not helping the justice system’’.

If someone was struggling with adhering to their bail conditions they should come see the police before it was too late, Sgt Wakelin said.

“We’d rather work with them and say ‘what isn’t working for you?’

“A raft of problems in their home life may be causing them to breach bail because it’s the easiest thing for them to do.”

Another problem on police’s radar was drivers speeding.

Exceeding the speed limit increased the risk of major injury and death, Sgt Wakelin said.
“That one or two kilometres [per hour] over the speed limit can massively compound mechanical injury if they crash,’’ he said.

‘‘It can decide whether they live or die in a serious crash.”

There would be no leeway given in enforcing speed laws.

Sgt Wakelin also put a spotlight on alcohol abuse in the community, and the harmful effects on judgement that are produced under the influence.

“We see an increase in family violence. Also in individuals being arrested for things they wouldn’t normally do when they were sober. It clouds the judgement.

“We’re trying to reduce the harm.

‘‘We’re not saying not to have a drink, but just do it in moderation and know your limits.”

To report a crime, contact your local police station or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555›111.