Police diversity enhanced with new officers

  • Hon Stuart Nash

The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says efforts to enhance diversity in the workforce have taken another step forward with the graduation today of 59 new constables.

“The graduation of Wing 331 from the Royal New Zealand Police College means 1,745 new Police have been deployed all over the country since the Coalition Government took office. From next week another 300 new recruits will be in training,” Mr Nash says.

“Female constables make up 44 per cent of this recruit wing. Twenty seven per cent of the new officers identify as Maori, and almost seven per cent are Pasifika. The youngest officer to graduate today is 18 years old and the eldest is 44.

“It is a Police goal for the demographics of the workforce to more closely align with the communities they serve. This year a new record was set for the number of Maori police officers to graduate in a single year, when 150 were deployed in the year to August.

“In the past two financial years the number of female Police officers has increased by 26 percent, Maori officers by 16 per cent, Pasifika by 33 per cent, and Asian officers by 66 per cent. Police still have progress to make but are working hard on this goal.

“The number of new Kiwis in this recruit wing also brings diversity to the frontline. Around 11 foreign languages are spoken by the new officers. This includes one who arrived from the former Yugoslavia as a five year old without a word of English. He now speaks four languages. This sort of skill is crucial for helping Police engage with migrant communities.

“It is a tough time to be a Police officer. Today’s new constables face diverse challenges such as tackling the scourge of methamphetamine, gangs and organised crime, bringing down the road toll, removing unlawful firearms from our communities, turning around family harm statistics, and dealing with the increased demand from mental health callouts.

“We have some way to go to bring the number of frontline officers up to the level we need after they were run down by the previous government. But we will keep investing in recruiting and training new constables and supporting them with modern resources.

“One of our top priorities is to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders, and crime prevention and community safety is always a focus,” Mr Nash says.

By the numbers:

  • 1745 new constables deployed since the Coalition Government took office.
  • Fulltime constabulary numbers are now around 9779. The number of front line officers has increased by approximately 940, or almost 11%, since the beginning of the 2017/18 financial year, after taking account of retirements and other attrition.
  • Another 80 constables are expected to graduate from two recruit wings on 7 and 21 November, including one of the unusual Auckland recruit wings. These are non-residential courses and are designed as a more family-friendly way of training aspiring police officers from the Tamaki Makaurau police area, which covers all three Police districts in our largest city.
  • Two new recruit wings, Wings 335 and 335-5 start on Monday 28 October in Porirua and Auckland. There will then be a total of 300 new Police recruits in training, with graduation dates spread from November to March.

The new officers from Wing 331 commence duty on 4 November. They are deployed to Police Districts as follows*:

Northland – 2
Waikato – 10
Bay of Plenty – 6
Eastern – 4
Central – 8
Wellington – 11
Tasman – 2
Canterbury – 10
Southern – 6

*There are no Auckland-based constables in this wing because 20 constables will be deployed to Tamaki Makaurau Police districts after their graduation from the Auckland course on 7 November