Media Backgrounder Auckland Initiatives
Greater Auckland continues to experience unprecedented growth. Over one third of an increasingly diverse ethnic population now lives in the northern part of the North Island and this growth has translated into increasing pressure on many services. Police is no exception to this and the three Auckland Police districts, in particular, the Auckland City District, have been affected by the increasing sophistication and complexity of organised crime and a spate of multiple homicides.
The staffing levels in the three Auckland Districts have struggled to keep pace with this increasing population and Auckland staff have become increasingly pressured, despite recorded crime being at its lowest level for 13 years.
The Government will provide $2.5 million of operating funds to the Police baseline specifically for Auckland initiatives to ease this pressure through a range of initiatives designed to provide support for frontline staff. In particular, the $2.5 million per annum will translate into approximately 60 extra non-sworn staff.
These staff will perform a variety of tasks to ease the burden on frontline police, freeing up valuable sworn staff time for crime scene and response work.
The 60 new non-sworn staff will be involved in pivotal support roles such as the operation of crime desks. There is evidence to suggest that improved report taking and evidence gathering through a one-stop-shop operation relieves pressure for all users. The eased pressure on public counters, the competent and timely processing of distressed and frustrated members of the public and efficient management of crime desks will all contribute to an improved service from Auckland Police.
Non-sworn staff will also be employed to improve supervision processes relating to the grading, allocation, management and briefing of investigation files and related forensic evidence management. File briefing by staff dedicated to that task will ensure that major files are reviewed in accordance with policy and best practice.
The combined three Auckland police districts have a total of 2205 staff operating from nearly 100 community-based police stations and sites. The 1880 sworn staff working from these police stations are dependent on 325 non-sworn staff who contribute to crime fighting behind the scenes. Today’s announcement reaffirms the role played by non-sworn staff. Part of the initiatives to be rolled out will comprise increased administrative support within police stations.
The provision of a second radio channel for Auckland City will enhance communications and staff safety by relieving congestion. There will also be less competition for airtime by staff in the other two Districts.
New options for recruiting are also being developed in order to widen and strengthen the demographic range and number of new police officers in the three Auckland districts.
By the end of June 2002, 92 more recruits will be stationed in the three Auckland districts as a result of the extensive recruitment programme over the last year. This will be supported by new measures to target the recruitment of younger men and women between 17 and 22 years old. This will complement the current recruitment efforts which tend to attract applicants with more life experience. The new programme will be up and running within the next year and there will be an emphasis on selecting candidates from Auckland.
The America’s Cup in between October 2002 and March 2003 will require approximately 100 extra staff. They will be deployed on the water and on land, especially the viaduct Basin and lower central city. Twenty-two of the extra staff will be dedicated to skippering the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats to police the racing. The remaining officers will provide a 24-hour a day policing presence on land and water.