Milestone of 1800 new Police officers

  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
  • Rt Hon Winston Peters
  • Hon Stuart Nash
Prime Minister Deputy Prime Minister Police

The Coalition commitment to add 1800 new Police officers to frontline policing has been achieved with the graduation of 59 constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters say today’s graduation means 1825 new Police have been deployed all over the country since October 2017.

Coalition achievements in police recruitment and community safety initiatives include:

  • 2019 projected to see the largest increase in Police numbers, outside the merger of Police and traffic safety services in 1992-1993, since Police were first established in 1886.
  • Total Police workforce is now the largest it has ever been, and expected to surpass 14,000 by early 2020.
  • Police constabulary stands at 9838 officers, an increase of more than 11% since the start of the 2017-18 financial year.
  • The current recruitment drive has seen the number of Maori Police officers exceed 1000 for the first time, the number of female officers exceed 2000 for the first time and Pasifika officers exceed 500 for the first time.

“After nine years of neglect the Coalition Government has well and truly turned around the decline in numbers of frontline police who help keep our communities safe,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“I’m incredibly proud that this year the Government will deliver the largest growth in police numbers ever recorded in a single year, outside of major restructuring, since the Police force was established in 1886.

“I grew up in a Police household and I know first-hand that frontline officers are at the heart of every neighbourhood, rural district, small town and big urban centre,” says Jacinda Ardern.

“The graduation of Recruit Wing 332 is an historic moment for the Coalition Government. It delivers on a fundamental promise to help Police focus on crime prevention and build safer and more connected communities,” Winston Peters said.

“The Coalition Agreement made a strong commitment to increase the number of new Police to help tackle organised crime and that is exactly what we are delivering on.

“The big increase in Police numbers means we now have significantly more frontline officers for communities outside the main centres in provincial New Zealand which was forgotten by the previous Government.

“The rollout of  new Police has set records all over the country, especially regions like Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Eastern and Central Districts and the South Island,” Winston Peters said.

“The wellbeing of communities has always been central to our Government’s programme,” says Stuart Nash. “The constables graduating today have a tough job ahead of them.”

“They will work to remove unlawful firearms from our communities, fight the threat from organised crime, gangs and extremist networks, reduce harm from methamphetamine, and disrupt transnational crime, child sex exploitation, and cyber-crime.

“Police are committed to reducing family harm, cutting the road toll, and responding to mental health callouts which have now grown to around 33,000 a year.

“Wing 332 continues the strong commitment to increased diversity in Police. There are 11 foreign-born officers in the latest wing, who speak ten foreign languages between them.

“One new officer is the first Afghan-born woman to join New Zealand Police, after arriving here as a seven year old. One is descended from a “Peeler”, or London Police officer from the 19th century, and another has family members in the police in India.

“Forty-two per cent of this wing are women, 15 per cent are Maori, five per cent Pasifika and five per cent Asian. The youngest is 18 and the eldest is 40. They all have great cause to be proud of their achievements today, and we are proud of them,” Mr Nash says.


Questions and Answers

How have the 1825 new Police been deployed?

The 1825 new officers graduated from 28 training wings between October 2017 and November 2019. Deployment decisions were made by the Commissioner of Police in consultation with 12 District Commanders and other senior members of Police. Constables are dispersed as follows:

District Graduates since 26/10/17
Northland 96
Waitemata 213
Auckland City 196
Counties Manukau 298
Waikato 158
Bay of Plenty 146
Central 153
Eastern 61
Wellington 200
Tasman  24
Canterbury 171
Southern 109
Total 1825

What is the impact of attrition, retirements, resignations and other movements in the existing Police workforce?

The annual attrition rate in Police dropped below four per cent in 2019 and is one of the lowest in the wider state sector.

Including today’s graduates, the total fulltime equivalent (FTE) Police constabulary is 9838.

This is an increase of 1,000 officers since the start of the 2017/18 financial year. It is an increase of more than 11 per cent in the number of fulltime officers over that period.

The total Police workforce, including non-sworn staff, is expected to pass 14,000 in early 2020.

How does the growth in fulltime officers compare to previous records?

Current Police projections indicate that the growth in FTE Police officers will be around 500 for the 2019 calendar year. This is the largest growth in Police numbers ever recorded in a single year without major restructuring.

Previous records were set in 1992-93 when the traffic safety service of the Ministry of Transport merged with Police; and in 1886 when Police were first established as an organisation and grew from zero to 494 officers in one year.

How is recruitment tracking for future Police training wings?

A new recruit wing starts at the Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC) next week. At that point there will be 280 Police recruits in training. They will be spread across six training wings: four at the RNZPC and two at the Auckland-based training sites.

It will mean that 900 people will have started training as Police officers during the 2019 calendar year.

Police recruits are paid a total remuneration package equivalent to $45,059 per year while training, made up of salary, superannuation, and life insurance cover.

In the year to October 2019 almost 6,700 people applied to become Police officers. The previous record was set in 2017 when 6,530 people applied following the launch of “The World’s Most Entertaining Recruitment Video” by Police.

What other records have been set by the rollout of 1800 new Police?

A number of milestones have been set by the recruitment drive, especially around efforts to enhance the diversity of the Police workforce.

May 2018: number of Maori Police officers passes 1,000 for the first time

May 2018: 78 constables graduate from largest ever wing at RNZPC dedicated solely to Auckland policing

June 2018: largest number of women in a single wing, 42 constables (54% of wing)

September 2018: first Auckland-based training wing in almost 45 years

September 2018: 98 constables graduate from largest single wing in more than a decade

November 2018: number of FTE Police in the South Island passes 2,000 for the first time

December 2018: number of female Police officers passes 2,000 for the first time

December 2018: number of Pasifika Police officers passes 500 for the first time

February 2019: total Police workforce (frontline officers and employees) passes 13,000 for first time

June 2019: new record set for the number of Police deployed in a single financial year. 831 new frontline Police were deployed during the 2018/19 FY. The previous highest number in one financial year was 683 officers during 1997/98.

August 2019: record number of Maori constables trained in one year: 150 in year to August

August 2019: number of FTE Police in North Island provincial districts passes 3,000 for the first time (Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Eastern, Central)

September 2019: number of Asian Police officers passes 400 for the first time

December 2019: (projected): the graduation of the final recruit wing for 2019 is expected to result in more than 850 new officers deployed during the calendar year. The previous record for a calendar year was in 2018 when 842 new Police were deployed.

How have the new officers changed the face of the Police workforce?

It is a Police goal for the demographics of the Police workforce to more closely align with the communities they serve. The proportion of new officers, and the impact on the total constabulary, is represented below.

  New Police officers since 26/10/17 Growth in total constabulary since start of 2017/18 FY
Female 36% 29%
Male 64% 7%
Maori 15% 17%
Pacific 9% 35%
Asian 10% 70%
Total   11%

What difference have the new officers made on the ground after their deployment?

District Commanders and other senior Police officers have made the following public comments since the rollout of 1800 new officers began:

Supt. Paul Basham, Southern

These additional officers will be used to target and catch offenders, prevent harm and victimisation and provide a more responsive Police service to the community.

Supt Mike Johnson, Tasman

This investment of additional staff in Tasman allows us to challenge ourselves around where we will be investing these additional resources into having the biggest effect on crime and the drivers of crime for our communities.

It’s important to understand that we are not just looking at the new staff in considering this approach but are taking the opportunity to think carefully about how we structure and combine these new resources with our existing staffing to have the biggest effect.

Acting District Commander, Waikato Inspector Clifford Paxton

Our people care deeply about their local communities and want to do a good job. With additional resources we will be able to continue to make a difference in the community, expand our availability and increase our ability to deal with serious high end offending, such as child abuse and sexual assault.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Districts), John Tims, referring to greater Auckland:

These additional officers will be used to target and catch offenders, prevent harm and victimisation and provide a more responsive Police service to the community. Tamaki Makaurau is rapidly growing and we need to ensure Tamaki Makaurau policing is set up to meet the future growth and resulting changes. We will deploy our people to target specific issues in Tamaki Makaurau.

Otago-Lakes area commander Inspector Olaf Jensen

It's a significant boost for Queenstown, the new roles will include staff in the sexual abuse and child protection areas, as well as the resort's first dedicated organised crime unit.

There were also roles in rural liaison and youth aid that would also be deployed in the wider Otago-Lakes area. The organised crime staff, due to arrive in the 2021-22 year, will focus on gangs and drugs.

Superintendent Tony Hill, District Commander, Northland

I felt privileged to be at the pōwhiri welcoming our eight newest recruits to Te Tai Tokerau last week. All of these new staff are from this area, from all across Northland, so it’s great to have Northland people policing Northland. I think it will mean a lot to have people who know and love Northland as much as its people serving our communities here.

These new constables will bring a variety of skills and knowledge to the area, and I know they are itching to get to work and help keep our communities safe. I am confident that the leaders of the future will be amongst them.