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What is Hawkins hiding?

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesman

23 April 2001

What is Hawkins hiding?

Documents obtained by National under the Official Information Act paint a picture of mounting tension between Police and the Minister, and are notable more for what's not included than what is, National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall said today.

"The documents show a virtual breakdown in the relationship between the Commissioner and the Government. It is clear that Commissioner Robinson was reluctant to implement the cutbacks because of the effect this would have on frontline police.

"Cuts to overtime and temporary staff just mean there is more paper work for frontline officers and less time on the street.

"What's not included is more information on the Minister's plans to farm out police training to tertiary institutions and sell the police college. A 22 December letter from the Minister to the Commission refers to 'extensive work on the need for the college'. But none of that information was provided.

"In early November, George Hawkins was 'considering the viability of retaining the RNZPC and the option of outsourcing police training to tertiary institutions'. Police provided him with details of National's $200,000 review in 1998 which concluded 'that the retention and use of the Police College was the option which presented the lowest cost, lowest risk and best operational result for Police recruit training'.

"National understands more pressure is expected on the police budget next year as the Government rolls out a planned 'police spending reprioritisation programme'.

"The ridiculous cuts police have been made to endure have had a devastating impact on police morale.

"What is clear from the volumes of information still withheld by the Government is that another round of cost cutting is on the way. At the end of the day the only savings are in frontline staff numbers," Mr Ryall said.

Ends

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