Children at Risk

Police warn of stranger approaching young people in Waikanae area

Police patrols have been stepped up in Waikanae after reports a man has approached four children in the past three weeks offering them a ride.

The latest incident happened yesterday and involved a seven-year- old boy.

Sergeant Jackie Muir says the man is described as a tall, thin Pakeha, possibly aged about 40. He has dark, curly hair, wears round glasses and was driving a white four-door sedan.

Ms Muir says boys and girls have been approached from central Waikanae to Waikanae Beach.

She is asking parents to press home to children the message about ‘stranger danger.’

She says that if children are approached by anyone they don’t know, they should run away and tell the first adult they find. Police should be told immediately on the emergency 111 number.

Delays in telling police

Unfortunately, Ms Muir says, some parents have taken up to a week to contact police.

Earlier, Waikanae community Constable Brett Polglase said:

“Whilst we do not want to alarm parents and caregivers, we do want to identify and speak to this person and would like to hear from anyone who may have seen this vehicle or this man in the central Waikanae and beach areas in recent times.”

Timely reminder

Constable Polglase said the incidents are a timely reminder for parents and caregivers to discuss with their children how they should keep themselves safe.

“Whilst it is not very common for children or young people to be approached by a stranger acting suspiciously or trying to offer a ride, children should know what to do in this situation. That means calling out for help and making sure Police are notified as soon as possible.”

Constable Polglase says Police have spoken to local school principals in Waikanae to make them aware of these recent incidents, in an effort to inform parents and reaffirm safety messages with students.

Further information about keeping  children safe is available online at the New Zealand Police website at:www.police.govt.nz

Anyone with any information should contact Kapiti Police on (04) 296 6800 or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.