Review Has Potential to Increase Frontline Policing

  • Jack Elder

Frontline policing will be strengthened as a result of a review of police, the Minister of Police Jack Elder said today.

Releasing a draft report on an external review of the New Zealand Police, he said any savings made would be reinvested in the Police to improve public safety.

There is certainly the potential following this review to increase frontline numbers beyond the 500 promised in the Government's Coalition Agreement," said Mr Elder.

There has been a huge amount of ill-informed scaremongering in recent weeks about how the Government is going to slash and burn the Police. But this report shows clearly that this is not the case and that only 1.7 per cent of uniformed police would potentially be directly affected - and most of those are currently in back-room jobs.

The result of this review could see some of those staff being shifted from the backroom of the Police to the operational frontline.

That is what the public wants and what this Coalition Government wants.

This review was set up to ensure the public has the most cost effective and efficient Police organisation to achieve safer communities and effective law enforcement.

The Government has put an extra $55 million into Police in this year's Budget along with providing for an extra 114 frontline police this year and another 100 next year. We need to be reassured that the taxpayer, and the public, is getting the best Police service we can provide.

As Minister of Police I will fight to ensure any extra resources go to the right places ? like more police actively protecting homes and families, additional equipment and resources to fight organised crime and gang offending, and additional crime prevention initiatives such as targeting youth at risk and family violence and reducing the carnage on our roads.

The report lists a number of areas, not part of core law enforcement activities, which could possibly be contracted out. This issue will need further, careful, consideration before any decisions are made.

We are not in any way going to see frontline policing compromised.

We want to reassure the public that the money we spend on policing in New Zealand is delivering what they want and Government wants a world-class crime fighting and crime prevention service.

Mr Elder said the draft report would now be released for consultation with the Commissioner of Police, senior managers, other police staff and a range of stakeholders including Safer Community Councils, relevant unions, local government and community groups.

"This review is not being conducted behind closed doors. Now the draft has been released there will be full consultation.

"The formal consultation process will last about three weeks and then the responses will be fed back to the reviewer for consideration prior to a final report going back to Government.

"It is important that not only the Police and the unions which represent police staff, but Safer Community Councils and others who represent the wider community will have the chance to be consulted on the review?s proposals and to give feedback to Government."

Mr Elder said that once consultation is complete, Ministers will consider a final report and take decisions on that, so that any recommendations can be implemented by late this year.