Residents in the Far North town of Kaikohe are pleading for more police now following a weekend rampage by a mob of children.
Alarming footage shows the group, some estimated to be as young as 11, trying to smash their way into the Mobil petrol station in Kaikohe at 1am on Saturday.
"We're asking for help. We're asking the Minister of Police to give us some more staff here," said Tony Taylor of the Kaikohe Community Patrol.
Earlier that night it's alleged the same group of children was fighting on the streets and took beer from a liquor store.
A single police officer responded.
"He feared for himself. He said 'I cannot handle 15 youths, I'll just turn into mince meat'. Health and safety for the police at the moment is just not there," Mr Taylor said.
Some residents fear young people are terrorising the town.
"It's gotten bad, brother, it's gotten bad. All the youths they got no respect for any of the elders. And it's not their fault, it's not their fault. What they learn at home is what they see," said one local man.
The Far North has struggled with crime over recent years following a number of killings and gang-related incidents.
The district doesn't have 24-hour policing. From midnight to 3am, there are seven police officers covering the Bay of Island area. That includes Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Kawakawa, Pahia and Russell. From 3am to 7am there are none.
"We need more police on the beat. There's nothing wrong with the police and what they're doing. The guys on the beat are struggling with a hard situation, but they haven't got the numbers," said Alan Price, Kaikohe businessman.
Frontline staff have told 1 NEWS off the record that they're under resourced.
The Government says more police are on the way, but it's unclear how staff will be allocated.
Police have identified most of the teens involved in the weekend uproar and will be visiting them this week.
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