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Don't tell the crooks!

Brian Neeson National Police Spokesperson

30 November 2000

Don't tell the crooks!

"The absence of police in rural areas is a sign of things to come as police numbers are cut back and more police officers take annual holidays," National's Police spokesperson Brian Neeson said today.

"The latest town to have police cut back because of 'resources' is Murchison, 115 kilometres from the nearest help near Nelson. Their sole charge officer is off on a well earned break but is being replaced for only eight hours a day. Don't tell the crooks which of the 16 hours in a day that the town will be not be policed!

"The Minister's answer to the police cutbacks is to use volunteers. This is more about economics than good policing.

"Recruiting volunteer firemen as volunteer police officers is the beginning of a quasi police force. There are dangers associated both for the public and those involved as replacements for police officers.

"The police already have the authority to 'deputise' suitable people to help them on needs basis and they know who they can rely on in their communities for help. 'Formalising' this arrangement could see us with less police on the streets and more volunteers involved. This can only reduce the confidence of New Zealanders in our police force, and make the crooks happy!

"Pay to train, slower cars, no school visits and volunteers taking on the role of paid police officers are signs of an under-resourced police force with a Minister who would rather resort to desperate measures than seek more funding.

"New Zealanders deserve to be safe in their homes and on the streets this Christmas. The way Mr Hawkins is managing our police force the only Christmas presents will be going to the crooks," Mr Neeson said.

Ends

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