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No stop to thinning blue line

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesperson

Tuesday 20 March 2001

No stop to thinning blue line

The Police Minister has confirmed that there are almost 200 frontline vacancies at police stations throughout New Zealand, National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall said today.

"After this week, there will be no new recruits for five months," Mr Ryall said.

The Police Minister confirmed the number of vacancies in a reply to a written parliamentary question from Mr Ryall.

"The Minister says recruits graduating this week will help ease the shortfall in staff. There are only 83 recruits graduating this week. There won't be any more graduates for another five months and then only 60 recruits will graduate. This won't even be enough to replace the growing exit of frontline staff.

"In the five months it will take for the next wing of recruits to come through, more and more police men and women will leave the force because of low morale.

"Police around the country are already telling us the effects of shortfalls in frontline staff.

"In Timaru police are taking longer to investigate minor crimes. In Christchurch gang crime is going unchecked. On the North Shore, community constables are being pulled from their posts to supplement the frontline. In the Hawkes Bay, civilians are guarding police cells. And in the Bay of Plenty, police are considering cutting youth education programmes," Mr Ryall said.

Mr Hawkins also confirmed in a written question today that no additional staff would be provided to districts following the funding announcement on 11 March.

Ends

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