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Police Attrition Rate Lowest In Years

Police attrition rates are the lowest in years, Police Minister George Hawkins said today.

Today’s lead story in The Dominion newspaper, headlined ‘Police leaving by the hundreds’ and quoting ACT MP Murial Newman and National Police spokesman Tony Ryall, bore no relation to the truth, Mr Hawkins said.

“It’s a case a gullible journalist not checking the facts and letting himself be led by a couple of Opposition hacks in election year,” Mr Hawkins said.

The story claimed police had lost 971 experienced staff in the 22 months to April 2002.

“The problem with that is it lumps in non-sworn support staff – police employees who do everything from typing to information technology and cleaning - with sworn police officers,” Mr Hawkins said.

The current attrition rate for sworn police of around 4.6 per cent was the lowest in years, and was a rate any large organisation would be proud of, Mr Hawkins said.

“At that level police could hardly be described as leaving in droves. In fact, they’re voting with their feet – they’re staying,’ Mr Hawkins said.

Police attrition rates had in fact reached their highest in 1996 and 1997, when National was in office.

“In that period, resignations among sworn staff reached 7.2 per cent. That was the time when criminal offending peaked, INCIS was in full swing and police morale was at an all time low,” Mr Hawkins said.

“It was also just before the National government decided it was time to further reduce Police numbers by cutting 445 jobs and to slash $24m from their funding,’ Mr Hawkins said.

Under Labour, police numbers and funding had never been higher, the overall crime rate was at a 13 year low and falling and burglaries were at their lowest rate in 20 years, he said.


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