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Budget Cuts Force Drop In Police Numbers

Police numbers all over the country are expected to drop, if they haven't already, because of budget problems, National's Police spokesperson Brian Neeson said today.

Police have stopped training recruits because of budget constraints - leading to an expected shortage of frontline Police next year.

"We already have several districts that are short-staffed and that couldn't cope with less officers. We need more frontline Police, not less.

"Police Minister George Hawkins's response has been to refuse to sign off the plan and say that there are other ways to save money. What are these other ways George? This response is nothing more than a cop out.

"Districts are losing officers to the Minister's new highway patrol team and to the Law Enforcement Team - despite 'spin' from the Minister that this wouldn't happen. Given the expected shortage in recruits there is no way the Minister's promise to replace officers transferred to the Highway Patrol with recruits will come to fruition.

"I am constantly hearing concerns from both the community and the police about the difficulties the drop in frontline staff will cause, and is already causing, in practice. Police Districts all over New Zealand are experiencing budget problems and the Minister has no answers.

"Mr Hawkins promised more police on the ground. New Zealanders deserve to know when, and how, he is going to keep his promise," Mr Neeson said.


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