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Thin Blue Line gets thinner

Hon Tony Ryall National Police Spokesman

Monday 12 March 2001

Thin Blue Line gets thinner

Police numbers are expected to have dropped below 7,000 in February for the first time in months and George Hawkins' funding announcement will do nothing to fix it, National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall said today.

"Since November 2000, sworn police numbers have been cut from 7,129 to 7,008 at the end of January this year [source - written question number 1072]. Together with the cancelled recruitment of 240 officers, this means 360 fewer frontline police men and women.

"No wonder serious violent crime is on the rise. Police morale around New Zealand is the lowest it has been in years.

"February figures due out soon will show a further cut in frontline staff. Throughout the country a huge number of sworn positions are being left unfilled because of the Government's cuts. As always, when financial pressure comes on, the frontline suffers with fewer staff and less money.

"Training may be starting again but it won't make up for the recruitment numbers that missed out when Mr Hawkins forced these cutbacks on the police. The cancelled wings will not be made up.

"The Minister must stop being a puppet of the Treasury and start delivering the improved resourcing the public wants and our police deserve.

"Under Mrs Shipley's Government, police numbers rose from around 6,500 to over 7,000," Mr Ryall said.

Ends

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