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Staff Cuts To Blame For Poor Policing

4 November 2001

National says cuts to police recruitment earlier in the year are responsible for falling work standards in many police districts, and it is warning the Government against abandoning community policing.

"At last, the police hierarchy admits what we've been saying for months; frontline cops are under extreme pressure in many part of the country and the work is suffering," says National Police spokesman Tony Ryall.

"The Government cutting of recruitment earlier this year to save money has led to 240 fewer police officers today. Coupled with the numbers leaving the police, there's an estimated 350 frontline vacancies in police stations around the country.

"Naturally, that's putting huge pressure on the cops trying to hold it all together. We're hearing this from police all around the country. Mistakes are happening and work standards are falling.

"In Auckland City, the situation is particularly bad with around 60 frontline vacancies - some 20 in the CIB. We understand more departures are expected from Auckland CIB in the next few months, mainly experienced officers.

"We welcome today's admission and recognition of the problems facing police, particularly in Auckland and the Bay of Plenty. We hope the Government will also face up to it.

"But we give clear warning to the Government - National will not tolerate the downgrading of community policing. Closing community police stations to save money is a short-sighted approach which will not help cut crime.

"International evidence shows removing a police presence from communities increases crime. If the Government goes down that road, policing will be a major issue this election" warned Mr Ryall.


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