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Police Budget Crisis Not Confined To Wellington

Reports of cutbacks in key crime-fighting initiatives and police operations in Wellington are indicative of a problem that is New Zealand-wide, National's Police spokesperson Brian Neeson said today.

"Police in the Wellington District have had to suspend DNA collection, operate below full strength, not repair damaged vehicles and some police officers have had to go without reflectorised raincoats because they can't afford to buy enough to go around.

"I am reliably informed of problems in North Shore-Waitakere where budget shortfalls are having a big impact on crime-fighting. They are short 110 police officers based on the national average. Cars are being used for motorway patrols that are ready for the scrap heap. More than half of the fleet has clocked up more than 100,000 kms yet the district can't afford to replace them. I have also heard of community cars that are being used as patrol cars after hours to make up for a shortfall in vehicles - making it difficult for community constables to attend neighbourhood support meetings.

"This Government promised to do something about crime and this is what we get - police districts without enough money to operate properly. If the Government really was committed to fighting crime it would step in and do something about this budget crisis.

"The collection of DNA samples is an integral part of crime-fighting and it's not good enough that a district has had to suspend taking these samples because of budget problems.

"This amounts to a crisis of cash and confidence. It's about time this Government fronted up to this problem and told New Zealanders what it's going to do about it," Mr Neeson said.


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