Minister Nash's Speech to the Evidence-Based Problem Oriented Policing Awards

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Commissioner Mike Bush, Director of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Rebecca Kitteridge, Chief Executive and patron of wing 318of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples Laulu Mac, University of Waikato Professor Neil Quigley,  Chief Executive of ESR Dr Keith McLea, Michael Fisher from the Woolf Fisher Trust, members of the Police executive, Award nominees, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you Deputy Chief Executive Evans for that introduction, and thank you for inviting me to the Evidence-Based Problem Oriented Policing Awards today.

These Awards acknowledge and celebrate the excellent work being undertaken by Police, and our partners, in developing and implementing effective responses for crime prevention, and it is a real privilege and a pleasure to be here.

Back in December I attended the opening of the Evidence-Based Policing Centre. I am a huge supporter of the evidence-based approach as the foundation for Policing in the 21st century.

It ensures that proven approaches and tactics guide decision-making at the frontline for addressing harm in our communities.

New Zealand Police has an enviable reputation in having high levels of trust and confidence from the New Zealand people. That trust and confidence feeds into the public’s perception of safety, with New Zealand ranked one of the safest countries in the world.

To maintain this position and to enable our police to continue to serve our communities with the high standards of Policing that we expect, we need to continue to explore innovative ways to deal with crime, and the complex issues that lead people into a life of crime.

Those complex issues require a collaborative approach from all agencies that deliver social services in our communities, and these awards recognise and emphasise the close partnership approach required for successful harm prevention.

So I welcome representatives of Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Pacific Peoples, Ministry of Education, Oranga Tamariki, iwi and local community groups here today.

So if it takes a village to raise a child – so too it takes a village to prevent harm in our communities. It may be a cliché but I absolutely believe this is true.

The Government is a firm believer in the need for agencies and sectors to work together to solve problems, so I also want to acknowledge the input from our partners at the EBP Centre – the University of Waikato, ESR and Vodafone. The mix of academic, scientific, commercial and public sector expertise and experience allows research, data and information from a very wide variety of sources and fields to be utilised in assessing what works best to prevent crime. 

An example of this collaboration is the wastewater pilot programme led by Police and ESR, which is now being expanded to 38 sites across the country. Since 2016 wastewater testing has been conducted by ESR at three locations in Auckland, Christchurch and Whangarei. The data from these tests helps inform prevention and treatment strategies, allows comparison with international data and measures the effectiveness of education and enforcement.

Expanding the number of sample locations, drugs, and frequency of testing will help us identify differences in drug use between geographic regions and will act as an early warning system for emerging risks.

Preventing and reducing crime, especially re-offending so there are fewer victims of crime, is a key plank in the Government’s plan to build a better New Zealand for this generation and the next. We want to build a New Zealand where people feel healthy, safe and happy in their homes and communities.

We recognise the growing and increasingly complex demands on Police, and the resourcing required for this focus on harm prevention.

That is why an additional $300 million was announced in the 2018 Budget. This investment provides for 1800 extra frontline police officers and 485 support staff. This represents the single biggest investment in Policing in our history.

As Minister my focus is on building a stronger Police service that has the support Police need to prevent offending, enforce the law and keep communities safe.

It is important to me that Police staff are able to keep the promises they make to their communities.

This investment will enable more of the creative, innovative and collaborative work that is being recognised today, to be undertaken by you and your colleagues. A large percentage of the work you undertake each day is not seen by the wider public, but it is the everyday interactions where ideas are trialled, tools are developed and your skills refined.

To the award nominees - congratulations on being the regional finalists and making it through to this final round.

Your work in putting evidence based, innovative solutions into action in our communities is to be commended and celebrated. You are at the forefront of the drive to make our communities safer and to tackle the complex issues that generate crime and the harm that goes with it.

I unfortunately can’t stay for the presentations from all six award nominees, but I’m looking forward to the first three presentations, which I will be here for. My apologies to the other three nominees for not being able to stay longer.

I understand the winner of the Supreme Award today will be the New Zealand entry into the 2019 International Herman Goldstein Awards in the United States. This will be a great opportunity to showcase internationally the innovative and effective problem-solving work being done in New Zealand by Police and its partners.

Once again congratulations on the tremendous work being undertaken by you all.

Nga mihi.