Tipoff service Crimestoppers has taken a step closer to being up and running in New Zealand, provided enough cash can be raised to finance it.
British peer Michael Ashcroft, who set up the charity in Britain, received a favourable response to the concept from police top brass in Wellington.
If sufficient corporate support can be raised, then a chairman and chief executive could be appointed and a business plan drawn up “hopefully within the next few months”, he said.
Lord Ashcroft is on an “exploratory” trip to assess the feasibility of having the internationally successful crime tipoff line in New Zealand.
He met the police executive yesterday, which included all 12 district commanders and senior national headquarters staff. Police Commissioner Howard Broad said the service could provide invaluable information, which police hoped could also reduce the time taken to complete major investigations. Lord Ashcroft planned to meet business leaders to canvass potential financial support and was due to meet Prime Minister John Key yesterday and Police Minister Judith Collins today.
Ms Collins said the service could play a valuable support role for police. “There remains no better deterrent to crime than a well trained, well resourced police force that has the full support of the communities it serves.”
A key behind Crimestoppers’ worldwide success is its independence from both police and government, with the organisation running as a charity reliant on donations. There were no concerns the recession could be a barrier to raising enough funds, Lord Ashcroft said.
He would not say how much Crimestoppers would cost to introduce, but Mr Broad said he felt it would be well subscribed by both businesses and individuals.
In Britain, calls to the hotline led to 6000 arrests in 2007.