Official opening of the Evidence Based Policing Centre

Check against delivery.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Commissioner Mike Bush, thank you for that introduction.

Deputy Chief Executive Strategy Mark Evans, University of Waikato Vice Chancellor Neil Quigley, ESR Chief Executive Keith McLea, Vodafone New Zealand Chief Executive Russell Stanners, Representatives of Te Ati Awa, members of Police and the Evidence Based Policing Centre, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s a great pleasure to be here to officially open this exciting new development for New Zealand Police.

The Evidence Based Policing Centre is a big step forward - not just for Police, but also for the communities you serve.

It will help ensure that everything frontline police staff are doing is delivering the results New Zealanders want and expect.

In the past few years Police has transformed itself so that its staff are much more mobile, visible, effective and efficient than they’ve ever been before.

That’s been a major contributor to Police’s efforts to prevent crime, focus on the needs of victims and build and maintain its very enviable levels of public trust and confidence.

But this does not mean that we don’t continually explore innovative ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

This is what the Evidence Based Policing Centre is about.

As a full on supporter of 21st Century policing, I’m right behind the focus on evidence based policing.

I truly believe the work of this Centre will lead to better, smarter and more efficient ways of working.

My main priority as Police Minister is to increase the investment this Labour-NZ First coalition government makes in New Zealand Police.

The support is evident from the coalition agreement which will see an extra 1,800 new Police officers over the next three years.

I am aware that this is an ambitious goal but it is one I’m confident we will achieve and one you will all appreciate.

No one can deny that you rise to the challenge every single day and go above and beyond for the communities you serve. This is why we believe the extra investment in Police is important.

The new staff coming in over the next three years will absolutely contribute to the work that you will be doing here, and the work you do here will greatly influence what they do in the community.

Community policing is something I’m a great believer in and I totally buy into the Police operating model of “Prevention First”. I believe this is the way we must police in the 21st century.

“Prevention First” is about preventing crime from happening in the first place and delivering a more responsive Police service, which the Evidence Based Policing Centre will contribute to.

Here you will help identify opportunities to prevent harm before it happens, ultimately making New Zealand a safer and better place to live, work and visit.

By taking every opportunity to prevent harm, Police will deliver on its intent of making New Zealand the safest country in the world.

Another priority area for me as Minister is tackling organised crime. We need to equip Police with the resources they need to prevent serious crime from occurring and to better target organised crime activities.

The research that will occur here in the Evidence Based Policing Centre will mean that Police as an organisation will have a much greater understanding than ever before of what works and what doesn’t, and that’ll be what guides officers on the frontline.

The support this government has of Police of course extends to the partners who enable them to do what they need to, to keep us all safe.

So it’s great to also see the enthusiastic involvement of the University of Waikato, ESR and Vodafone as partners in this exciting new venture.

The Government is a firm believer in the need for agencies and sectors to work together to solve problems, and the mix of academic, scientific, commercial and public sector expertise and experience here will allow the Centre to draw on research, data and information from a very wide variety of sources and fields.

In turn, this will inform Police strategy and tactical decision-making at the frontline to help ensure Police do an even better job at preventing and responding to crime and victimisation.

I commend this great initiative and on behalf of the Government, I thank everybody who has worked so hard to get it off the ground.

To those of you who will be based here or contributing from other sites, thank you in advance for your efforts and all the very best for the future.