More Police deployed to frontline

More Police are being deployed to the frontline as a new wing of officers graduates from the Royal New Zealand Police College today.

Police Minister Stuart Nash says the 61 new constables in Wing 334 have one focus: crime prevention and community safety.

“The graduation of the latest wing of officers means 1,964 new Police have been deployed since the Coalition Government was formed,” Mr Nash said.

“We are training Police at more than double the rate of previous years. During 2019 we deployed 854 new Police, an all-time record. Average police deployments before we took office were around 363 per year.

“Extra Police are needed more than ever. The introduction of new family harm legislation in December 2018 led to an increase in the number of serious assaults reported to Police in 2019. Family violence is notoriously under-reported and Police are working hard to make a difference for victims and to prevent re-offending by perpetrators.

“There is also increasing demand for Police to respond to callouts that aren’t crimes, like mental health and road policing. Every year there are around 33,000 mental health callouts, 25,000 suicide-related callouts, and 340,000 traffic incidents and crashes.

“A construction boom and increased housing development has also seen an increase in dwelling burglaries from residential building sites. Burglars often steal property for sale to feed a drug habit. Police are working closely with other agencies on mental health and addiction issues.

“Complex areas like family harm, mental health and drug addictions all have a bearing on the offending figures. They require a lot of resources from Police and the wider network of government and community agencies working together to make a difference.

“We are slowly building up these services again after inheriting a run-down system. Thirty years of locking people up and ignoring the factors that cause offending in the first place have failed to make a difference. Transforming our criminal justice system will take time.

“Today’s graduation means the number of full time Police has increased by around 1,104 officers, or 12.5 per cent since the start of the 2017/18 financial year, over and above those who have left.

“In addition, from next week there will be 200 further recruits in training wings in Porirua and Auckland. Our commitment to support Police with officers, equipment, and stronger legislation around firearms, organised crime and family harm reinforces that we are the true coalition of law and order,” Mr Nash said.

Mr Nash also thanked the wing patron, Sir Kim Workman. “Sir Kim has dedicated his life to the criminal justice system, first as a Police officer, and then as an advocate for reform.”

The new officers will have a one-week break before being deployed as follows:

Northland – 1
Waitematā – 8
Auckland – 6
Counties Manukau – 8
Waikato – 3
Bay of Plenty – 6
Eastern – 5
Central – 9
Wellington – 10
Canterbury – 3
Southern – 2