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Release notes

Calendar year 2014

Legislation changes

A new offence code has been introduced from 24 August 2014 for the offence of possessing a high-powered laser pointer in a public place under section 13B of the Summary Offences Act 1981.

Changes in offence classifications

Nine additional offence codes have been introduced for ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Child exploitation’ offence elements under the Films Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993. Eight of these additional codes are now classified under ANZSOC group 0322 as ‘Child pornography’ offences. Prior to 2013/14, offences with a ‘Child exploitation’ element were included in ANZSOC group 1323, ‘Censorship’ offences.

Several offences have also been reclassified into different ANZSOC groups. This has resulted in changes to subtotals for groups and subdivisions within divisions 10, 15, and 16, compared with previously reported data.

Changes to geographical boundaries

Several police areas have been merged or reorganised for this release.

In Canterbury District: Canterbury Metro area has been formed by merging the previous Christchurch Central, Northern Canterbury, and Southern Canterbury area boundaries.

In Southern District: The Dunedin Area has been renamed Otago Coastal Area, while the Otago Rural Area has been renamed Otago Lakes Central Area. Although the area names have changed, the boundaries remain the same.

Changes over time

When comparing 2014 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends. 

Fiscal year 2013/14 (year ended 30 June)

Legislation changes

Three new offence codes have been introduced from 18 December 2012 for offences under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. Also as a result of enactment of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, many other alcohol-related offences have been repealed and replaced by Alcohol Infringements (AIONs) and so are no longer part of this collection.

Ten new offence codes have been introduced for offences under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013, which came into force on 18 July 2013.

Changes in offence classifications

Nine additional offence codes have been introduced for ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Child exploitation’ offence elements under the Films Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993. Eight of these additional codes are now classified under ANZSOC group 0322 as ‘Child pornography’ offences. Prior to 2014, offences with a ‘Child exploitation’ element were included in ANZSOC group 1323, ‘Censorship’ offences.

An offence code for ‘Attempted unlawful taking of a motor vehicle’ was introduced on 30 September 2013 to distinguish attempts from other unlawful taking/conversion offences.

Several offences have also been reclassified into different ANZSOC groups. This has resulted in changes to subtotals for groups and subdivisions within divisions 10, 15, and 16, compared with previously reported data.

Changes to geographical boundaries 

Several police areas have been merged or reorganised for this release.

In Canterbury District: Canterbury Metro area has been formed by merging the previous Christchurch Central, Northern Canterbury, and Southern Canterbury area boundaries.

In Central District: Taranaki area has been formed by merging the previous New Plymouth and Taranaki rural area boundaries; Manawatu area has been formed by merging the previous Palmerston North city and Palmerston North rural area boundaries; Whanganui area has been expanded to include the previous Ruapehu area boundaries.

In Southern District: Several police stations in North Otago (Hampden, Kurow, Oamaru, Omarama, and Palmerston) have moved from the Otago rural area to the Dunedin area.

Although the boundaries have changed, the names remain the same.

Both new and historic data are reported against these new boundaries.

Changes over time

Refer to the release notes for relevant years when you compare 2013/14 statistics with previous years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

Calendar year 2013

Legislation changes

Two new offence codes came into effect on 18 December 2012, for offences under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. The Act also repealed many other alcohol-related offences and replaced them with Alcohol Infringements (AIONs), which means they are no longer part of this collection.

An offence code for ‘Attempted unlawful taking of a motor vehicle’ was introduced on 30 September 2013 to distinguish attempts from other unlawful taking/conversion offences.

Ten new offence codes were introduced for offences under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013, which came into force on 18 July 2013.

Changes to geographical boundaries

Several police areas were merged or reorganised in September 2013.

In Central District: Taranaki area was formed by merging the previous New Plymouth and Taranaki rural area boundaries; Manawatu area was formed by merging the previous Palmerston North city and Palmerston North rural area boundaries; Whanganui area was expanded to include the previous Ruapehu area boundaries.

In Southern District: Several police stations in North Otago (Hampden, Kurow, Oamaru, Omarama, and Palmerston) moved from the Otago rural area to the Dunedin area. Although the boundaries have changed, the names remain the same. Both new and historic data are reported against these new boundaries.

Changes over time

When comparing 2013 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

Fiscal year 2012/13

Legislation changes

Two new offence codes have been introduced from 31 August 2012 for 'Unlawful hunting', to distinguish this offending from other offences under the Wild Animal Control Act 1977.

Nine new offence codes have been introduced for offences under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012. These codes began to be used at different times, depending on when the corresponding legislation came into force.

Changes over time

When comparing 2012/13 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends. 

Calendar year 2012

Legislation changes

A new offence code for 'Sell / dispose motor vehicle subject to confiscation order' under section 132A of the Sentencing Act 2002 was introduced on 31 January 2012. This offence is classified under ANZSOC group 1562 - Resist or hinder police officer or justice official.

Two new offence codes for breaches of suppression provisions under section 211 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 were introduced from 5 March 2012. These offences appear in ANZSOC group 1569 - Offences against justice procedures, nec. These codes appear in the same ANZSOC group as other publication restriction breaches.

Four new offence codes have been introduced in response to enactment of the Crimes Amendment Act (No 3) 2011 on 19 March 2012, which has changed offences concerning the ill-treatment or neglect of persons under care, including the definition of a child increasing from age 16 to age 18. These offences are classified under ANZSOC group 0491 - Neglect or ill-treatment of persons under care. The existing offence codes for similar offences under the previous legislation subsequently became obsolete on 30 April 2012.

Two new offence codes have been introduced from 31 August 2012 for Unlawful Hunting, to distinguish this offending from other offences under the Wild Animal Control Act 1977.
Nine new offence codes have been introduced for offences under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012. These codes commenced at various different times depending on when the corresponding legislation came into force.

Changes to geographic boundaries

Several Police Areas were merged or renamed in June 2012. Hawkes Bay Area has been formed by merging the previous Napier and Hastings area boundaries. Hutt Valley Area has been formed by merging the previous Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt area boundaries. Wanganui Area is renamed Whanganui Area and Gisborne Area is renamed Tairawhiti Area, but their boundaries remain the same. Both new and historic data are reported against these new boundaries.

Changes over time

When comparing 2012 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the 'release notes' for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

Fiscal year 2011/12

Legislation changes

Temporary class drug offences were introduced on 16 August 2011, when the first Temporary Class Drugs Notice took effect. Introduction of the new offences was a result of the enactment of the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act (No 2) 2011 (2011 No 54). These offences are classified under the relevant groups of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC) Division 10 – Illicit Drug Offences.

A new offence code for ‘Sell / dispose motor vehicle subject to confiscation order’ under section 132A of the Sentencing Act 2002 was introduced on 31 January 2012. This offence is classified under ANZSOC group 1562 – Resist or hinder police officer or justice official.

Two new offence codes for breaches of suppression provisions under section 211 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 were introduced from 5 March 2012. These offences are classified under ANZSOC group 1569 – Offences against justice procedures, nec. These codes appear in the same ANZSOC group as other publication restriction breaches.

Four new offence codes were introduced in response to the enactment of the Crimes Amendment Act (No 3) 2011 on 19 March 2012. The Act changed the offences on the ill-treatment or neglect of persons under care, and a child’s age from 16 to 18 years. These offences are classified under ANZSOC group 0491 – Neglect or ill-treatment of persons under care. Both the new and some existing offence codes in this group continue to be used for operational reasons.

Changes over time

When comparing 2011/12 statistics with previous years, please refer to the release notes for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends

Calendar year 2011

Legislation changes

Five new offence codes were introduced on 1 February 2011 in response to the enactment of the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009. Two of these offences are classified under ANZSOC group 0831 – Receive or handle proceeds of crime, one under ANZSOC group 1561 – Subvert the course of justice, and two under ANZSOC group 1562 – Resist or hinder police officer or justice official.

Two new miscellaneous offence codes were introduced on 19 April 2011 in response to the enactment of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011. These offences appear in ANZSOC group 1699 – Miscellaneous offences, nec.  These codes appear in the same ANZSOC group as Breaches of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002.

Temporary class drug offences were introduced on 16 August 2011, when the first Temporary Class Drugs Notice came into effect. This was as a result of enactment of the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act (No 2) 2011 (2011 No 54). These offences appear within the relevant groups of ANZSOC Division 10 – Illicit Drug Offences.

Changes over time

When comparing 2011 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Fiscal year 2010/11

Offence classification renamed ANZSOC

On 2 June 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the third edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC). It replaced the second edition of the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC). Apart from the name change, the only other changes were corrections to some minor typographical errors. A description of this classification is available on the ABS website.

Changes in legislation

Five new offence codes were introduced on 1 February 2011 in response to the enactment of the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009. Two of these offences are classified under ANZSOC group – Receive or handle proceeds of crime, one under ANZSOC group 1561 – Subvert the course of justice, and two under ANZSOC group 1562 – Resist or hinder police officer or justice official.

Two new miscellaneous offence codes were introduced on 19 April 2011 in response to the enactment of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011. These offences appear in ANZSOC group 1699 – Miscellaneous offences, nec. These codes appear in the same group as Breaches of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act.

Existing offence codes were retained as a result of the enactment of the Immigration Act 2009 that came into force at 2am on 29 November 2010, which repealed and replaced the Immigration Act 1987. The 2009 Act contains substantially the same provisions as the 1987 Act. New offences under the Immigration Act 2009 are collected under Other Breaches Immigration Act. These immigration offences continue to be classified by their existing ANZSOC classifications, primarily ANZSOC group 1543 – Immigration offences.

Changes over time

When comparing 2010/11 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Calendar year 2010 

Legislation changes

A new offence code was introduced on 1 July 2010, in response to the enactment of new legislation for failing to remain while a Police Safety Order is issued under Part 6 of the Domestic Violence Act 1995.

Other offence codes recently introduced are for:

  • Breaches of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996: new code from 10 March 2010
  • Major Events Management Act 2007, section 27: new code from 1 November 2010 (invade pitch of major sporting event).

Several offence codes have also been introduced during the 2010 calendar year to distinguish between existing offences under the Crimes Act sections 100 to 105A, that previously had a common offence code.

Changes over time

When comparing 2010 Statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Fiscal year 2009/10

Change to ASOC

This collection is changing its classification to align with the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC). A description of this classification is available on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

Note that ASOC includes provision for traffic offences, however New Zealand offences reported with ASOC currently exclude traffic offences. Because of this, and because of differences in the way offences are counted in New Zealand and Australia, it is not possible to directly compare New Zealand and Australian statistics for recorded crime.

Legislation changes

New offence codes were introduced during the year in response to the enactment of new legislation: the Wanganui District Council (Prohibition of Gang Insignia) Act 2009 (commenced 10 May 2009). The Wanganui District Council also enacted a bylaw under this legislation that took effect on 1 September 2009. Twelve offences were recorded during the 2009/10 fiscal year using these new codes. All of these were in Wanganui.

Changes to geographical boundaries

The Police areas within Auckland District have been renamed, but the boundaries remain the same.

Changes over time

When comparing 2009/10 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Calendar year 2009 

Legislation changes

Legislation changes during 2009 have generally had a negligible impact on total recorded crime statistics.

Four new offences have been enacted under the Wanganui District Council Prohibition of Gang Insignia Act 2009 (commenced 10 May 2009) and the Wanganui District Council Prohibition of Gang Insignia Bylaw 2009 (commenced 1 Oct 2009). The net impact of this legislation change is likely to be a very small increase in the number of offences recorded.

Homicide statistics revisions

Statistics for the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 within the Homicide offence class have been revised to remedy discrepancies found during an internal review of homicide data.

Changes to offence class descriptions

The offence class description ‘Alcohol Offences’ replaces the description ‘Sale of Liquor Act 1989’ because that class of offences also includes possession and consumption offences under the Local Government Act and the Summary Offences Act, as well as the Sale of Liquor Act.

The offence type description ‘Offences Re Minor – Liquor’ replaces ‘Offences Re Minor – Sale of Liquor Act 89’ for the same reasons. However, the offences contained within these offence groupings have not changed.

Apprehension resolution codes

Apprehension resolution codes have been rationalised in this release.

Note: This collection of crime statistics now covers the 16-year period from 1 January 1994 to 31 December 2009.

When comparing 2009 statistics with previous years, please refer to the release notes for the relevant years below, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Fiscal year 2008/09

Legislation changes during 2008/09 fiscal year have generally had negligible impact on recorded crime statistics. Expanded graffiti legislation under sections 11A and 11B of the Summary Offences Act 1981, have resulted in new offence codes being created to capture some of the graffiti offences more explicitly, and to create a new offence for being in possession of graffiti implements without reasonable excuse.

Statistics for the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 within the homicide offence class have been revised to remedy discrepancies detected as a result of an internal review of homicide data.

The offence class description 'Alcohol Offences' replaces the description 'Sale of Liquor Act 1989' because that class of offences also includes possession and consumption offences under the Local Government Act, the Summary Offences Act and the Sale of Liquor Act. The offence type description 'Offences Re Minor – Liquor' replaces 'Offences Re Minor – Sale of Liquor Act 1989' for the same reasons. However, the offences contained within these offence groupings have not changed.

The 15 year period from 1 July 1994 to 30 June 2009 is now covered by this collection.

When comparing 2008/09 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Calendar year 2008

Legislation changes in 2008 had very little impact on total recorded crime statistics. Expanded graffiti legislation under sections 11A and 11B of the Summary Offences Act 1981, however, have resulted in new offence codes to capture some of these offences more explicitly. Specifically, it created a new offence code for the possession of graffiti implements without reasonable excuse. The net impact of this legislation change would be a very small increase in the number of offences recorded.

Statistics for the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 within the homicide offence class have been revised to remedy discrepancies detected as a result of an internal review of homicide data.

In this release, population estimates for 2002–06 were revised as a result of the 2006 Census. In previous releases, population estimates for the 2002–06 period were based on the 2001 Census. As a result, crime rates from this release may differ from those previously published.

When comparing 2008 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years' below, as previous changes significantly affect year on year trends.

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Fiscal year 2007/08

Legislation changes during the 2007/08 fiscal year have generally had negligible impact on recorded crime statistics.

Note that the population estimates provided in conjunction with this release have been revised for 2002 to 2007 fiscal years as a result of the 2006 Census. In previous releases population estimates were based on the 2001 Census. Crime rates calculated from this release for those years may differ from those previously calculated as a result.

When comparing 2007/08 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years below, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Calendar year 2007

Legislation changes during 2007 have generally had negligible impact on recorded crime statistics. However, the Crimes (Intimate Covert Filming) Amendment Act 2006 created new offences within the 'Immoral Behaviour/Miscellaneous' class of sexual offences just prior to 2007, contributing 25 of the 63 additional offences within this class.

Note that the population estimates provided in conjunction with this release have been revised for 2002 to 2006 as a result of the 2006 Census. In previous releases population estimates were based on the 2001 Census. Crime rates calculated from this release for those years may differ from those previously calculated as a result.

When comparing 2007 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years below, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Fiscal year 2006/07

In June 2005, Police replaced the aging Law Enforcement System (LES), known colloquially by most New Zealanders as the 'Wanganui Computer', with a newer National Intelligence Application (NIA). This IT system migration is the largest crime-recording system change that has occurred since the introduction of the Wanganui computer in the late 1970s.

This system change caused a step-increase in recorded crime statistics, coincident with the system replacement. This step-increase varied in magnitude between different crime-types and Police Districts. Caution should therefore be observed when making inferences from these statistics about trends the incidence of crime in New Zealand.

Legislation changes during the 2006/07 year have generally had negligible impact on recorded crime statistics. However, the Crimes (Intimate Covert Filming) Amendment Act 2006 created new offences within the 'Immoral Behaviour/Miscellaneous' class of sexual offences during 2006/07, making a small contribution to the increase within this class.

Readers should note that the Northshore-Waitakere District has been renamed as the Waitemata District.

When comparing 2006/07 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years below, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Calendar year 2006

In June 2005 Police, replaced the aging Law Enforcement System (LES), known colloquially by most New Zealanders as the 'Wanganui Computer'. As previously reported, the IT system upgrade occurred mid-way through 2005 and has had a significant effect on numbers reported in recorded crime statistics.

Care should be taken when inferring trends based on statistics in this report from the 2005 and 2006 calendar years. For example, at the national level this release reports a 4.1 percent increase in total recorded offences between 2005 and 2006. Comparison of July–December 2005 with July–December 2006 reveals that there was a 0.04 percent reduction in recorded offences. The statistics summarised in this report are given in more detail on Statistics New Zealand's website, including a monthly breakdown.

Readers should note that the Northshore-Waitakere District has been renamed as the Waitemata District.

When comparing 2006 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years' below, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Fiscal year 2005/06

In June 2005, Police replaced the aging Law Enforcement System (LES), commonly known as the Wanganui computer, with a newer National Intelligence Application (NIA). This IT system migration is the largest crime-recording system change that has occurred since the introduction of the Wanganui computer in the late 1970s.

This system change caused a step-increase in recorded crime statistics, coincident with the system replacement. This step-increase varied in magnitude between different crime-types and Police Districts. Caution should therefore be observed when making inferences from these statistics about trends the incidence of crime in New Zealand.

Legislation changes during the 2005/06 year have generally had negligible impact on recorded crime statistics.

Note however that the increase in Justice (Special) class offences within the Administrative category is primarily due to the impact of:

  • The Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act 2004, which came into effect 1 April 2005, and to a lesser extent,
  • The Corrections Act 2004, which came into effect 1 June 2005.

When comparing 2005/06 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years below, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Calendar year 2005

The following legislation changes may have impacted on recorded crime statistics in 2005 (since the 2004 release):

Act Classes Affected
Corrections Act 2004 Justice (Special) Class (new offences). Against Justice Class (obsolete offences).
Care of Children Act 2004 Family Offences (Contd.) Class (new offences). Family Offences (obsolete offences).
Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act 2005 Drugs (new drugs) Class.
The Crimes Amendment Act 2005 Sexual Attacks, Abnormal Sex, and Immoral Behaviour Classes
Gambling Act 2003 Gaming Class
The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 Justice (Special) Class.
The Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act 2004 Justice (Special) Class (new offences). Fraud & Against Justice (obsoleted offences)

The name of the Whakatane area has been changed to Eastern Bay of Plenty for this release of the calendar statistics. The actual boundary is unchanged.

When comparing 2005 statistics with previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years below, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Fiscal year 2004/05

The following legislation may have impacted on recorded crime statistics in 2004/05:

Act Classes Affected
Crimes Amendment Act 2005 Sexual Attacks; Abnormal Sex; Immoral Behaviour
Gambling Act 2003 Gaming
Maritime Security Act 2004 Immigration
Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 Justice (Special)
Sentencing Amendment Act 2004; Parole (Extended Supervision) Amendment Act 2004 Justice (Special)
Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act 2004 Justice (Special) (new offences); Fraud & Against Justice (obsolete offences)

The name of the Whakatane area has been changed to Eastern Bay of Plenty for this release. The actual boundary is unchanged.

When comparing 2004/05 statistics with 2003/04 and previous years, you should also refer to the release notes for the relevant years below, as previous changes significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Calendar year 2004

The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2004 increased Police powers of arrest for breaches of liquor bans. This may be reflected in the 2004 Breach of Liquor Ban offence counts (grouped in the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 offence class). Note also that prior to July 2003, Breach of Liquor Ban offences were included in the By-law Breaches class (within the Administrative category).

The Maritime Security Act 2004 came into force on 6 April 2004. New offences for this and related Acts were added within the Immigration class.

Justice (Special) offences in 2004 resulted from the Sentencing Amendment Act 2004 and the Parole (Extended Supervision) Amendment Act 2004, both of which came into force on 7 July 2004.

When comparing 2004 statistics with 2003 and previous years, you should also refer to the fiscal year 2003/04 release notes, as changes during 2003 significantly affect year-on-year trends.

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Fiscal year 2003/04

A new offence class – Drugs (New Drugs) – was introduced during 2003/04 as part of the Drugs and Antisocial offence category. This class has been introduced to specifically capture offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1975) where the drugs involved are methamphetamine, amphetamine, ecstasy, and fantasy-type substances. Previously these were captured within the Drugs (Not Cannabis) offence class.

Breach of Liquor Ban offences are now captured uniquely within the Drugs and Antisocial offence category. Previously these were not identified specifically, but were incorporated within the more general By-law Breaches offence class, as part of the Administrative offence category.

The Crimes Amendment Act 2003 broadened the scope of offences that are classified as Burglary in Police statistics and created additional offences.

A new offence class – Dishonesty Miscellaneous – has been created to capture new types of offences, such as computer offences covered by sections 249–252 of the Crimes Act 1961.

Page updated 1 April 2015

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