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Auckland police crisis; don't bank on Mr Hawkins!

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesperson

25 October 2001

Auckland police crisis; don't bank on Mr Hawkins!

As Police Minister George Hawkins drives around Auckland with outspoken new Mayor John Banks there will be a lot of things he won't dare tell Banksie, National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall said today.

"The facts are Auckland is down 59 frontline officers, including 20 in the CIB. More departures are expected in the next few months. Coupled with poor recruitment from Auckland, the situation won't get better soon.

"Mr Hawkins won't dare tell Banksie about his shabby attempt to hide Auckland's appalling police vacancy numbers. Mr Hawkins' own answers to my questions show that in August 2001 the sworn target of police officers for the Auckland district for 30 June 2002 was 675. But by October that target had magically reduced to 620 - amazingly the same number of officers as they actually had! *

"Only George Hawkins could think that you could reduce the vacancies by reducing the targets! The answer is to put more police on the streets - not fiddle the numbers.

"Violent crime in Auckland is spiralling out of control and the new Mayor is rightly concerned about it. In just one year under Mr Hawkins' watch, 4,403 violent offences were committed in Auckland City, 353 Aucklanders were grievously assaulted, 1,337 serious offences were committed, 972 Aucklanders were intimidated or threatened, 286 sexual offences were committed, and 70 Aucklanders were sexually violated. Nationwide, violent crime has hit a record high.*

"The new Mayor wants to clean up Auckland's streets and make it a safer place for Mums and Dads to take their kids. Mr Hawkins' ideas to 'usher in a new era' of tougher policing will amount to no more than sweeping problems under the carpet and fiddling with statistics. Aucklanders deserve better than this," Mr Ryall said.

Ends

* Written questions 10215 (Aug 2001) and 14001 (Oct 2001) * NZ Crime Statistics for the year ending 30 June 2001

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