Ten per cent more police to reduce crime

  • Paula Bennett

A $503 million package which includes increasing police staff and resources across the country will reduce crime and make our communities safer.  

Police Minister Paula Bennett says the Safer Communities package announced today by the Prime Minister will provide an additional 1125 police staff over the next four years, including 880 sworn police officers.

“We are unashamedly targeting offenders to ensure they’re off our streets by providing additional resources for Police and greater investment in rehabilitation for prisoners,” Mrs Bennett says.

“The 880 extra frontline police officers will work in targeted areas where we know they’re needed. Five hundred will go out on the beat and into community policing. Those officers will strengthen the emergency response, and focus on youth offending, burglaries and community crime.

“Knowing there’s a nearby police presence at all times is something the community expects. We’re making a commitment that people in cities, the regions and rural areas will have officers they can call on 24/7,” Mrs Bennett says. “Our commitment is that 95 per cent of New Zealanders will be within 25 kilometres of patrolling police day and night.  

“By focusing on specific areas we will deliver a more responsive police service, prevent crime and victimisation, resolve more crimes, and more effectively target criminal gangs and organised crime.”

Details of the package includes: 

  • A new national 24/7 phone number for non-emergencies
  • 140 more officers for up to 20 regional and rural police stations so that 95 per cent of the population lives within 25 kilometres of a 24/7 police presence
  • 140 additional specialist investigators for child protection, sexual assault, family violence and other serious crime (66 of these have been previously announced)
  • 80 additional officers to target organised crime, gangs and methamphetamine
  • 20 additional ethnic liaison officers to support Chinese, Indian and other ethnic communities
  • The Eagle Helicopter will now be available around the clock with the response time of 10-15 minutes, at the moment it’s only available at pre-scheduled times for 1800 hours a year
  • 12 mobile policing units to provide policing services on the move where they’re most needed, including in smaller towns, rural areas and community events.
  • All 12 police districts will receive extra officers. Police will decide how many will go where, based on need.

“We’ve set several challenging performance targets to ensure we get real results. We’re already attending 96 per cent of all home burglaries - 86 per cent of those within 48 hours, we plan to get that rate up to 98 per cent. Over the next four years we plan to seize $400 million of cash and assets from gangs and organised crime, up from $230 million.  We’re aiming to increase our response time for both answering and attending emergency calls, we’re aiming to reduce the number of deaths from family violence and reduce Maori offending.

“Meeting these targets will not be an easy task. But we’re here to tackle the difficult issues and we’re committed to making our communities safer.  

“We are prepared to put more of the worst criminals behind bars. That’s why part of the Safer Communities package is $115 million aimed at supporting the Ministry of Justice and Department of Corrections. This will include a boost for Corrections’ rehabilitation and reintegration programmes and staffing. It also includes more money for supporting courts to handle more cases.

“Police’s mission is for New Zealand to be the safest country in the world, and the Government wholeheartedly supports this goal,” Mrs Bennett says.