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Million Dollar Recruitment Panic

1 July 2001

Ministerial Foot-In-Mouth Sparks Million Dollar Recruitment Panic

The Police will have to spend four times as much as they did last year on recruitment - because of a big drop off in interest in the wake of the Police budget crisis, National's Tony Ryall revealed today.

Answers to Parliamentary Written Questions asked by Mr Ryall show Police now plan to spend a million dollars on recruitment activities this year, compared to $281,000 last year.

"This quadrupled spending on recruitment is necessary to repair the damage caused by George Hawkins," Tony Ryall said today. "Extra money should be spent on extra policing, not cleaning up the Minister's foot-in-mouth".

"Mr Hawkins' relationship with the Police hit a low late last year when he forced cutbacks to cellphones and DNA testing, and even required the sharing of wet weather gear in some regions. Police around the country confirm that when the Minister started opening his mouth promising to make recruits pay for their training, the level of enquiries from potential recruits plummeted. Many of those potential police officers pulled out and said forget it.

"Then, six months ago, the Government cancelled the training of 240 police officers in order to save $5 million. Not only did this sap morale amongst current staff, it scared off a whole load of good potential recruits.

"The Commissioner of Police has confirmed that the current recruitment drive will only maintain existing sworn police numbers, and that the million dollar campaign aims to recruit 400 staff.

"George Hawkins' big mouth has done a lot of damage to the Police. Morale is plummeting and violent crime is rising. This recruitment crisis is all his fault.

"Last financial year it cost around $650 for each recruit. This year it'll be $2,500 each. This should not have happened.

"Whatever way the Minister tries to dress it up, this million dollar recruitment campaign in all about making up the numbers that he cut," Tony Ryall said.


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