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Minister shuts down police website

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesperson

16 June 2002

Minister shuts down police website

Police Minister George Hawkins has directed the Police to shut down part of their public website that lists actual police staffing numbers around the country, says National's Police spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"This is appalling political influence in the day-to-day operation of the New Zealand Police. And it is shocking that the Police would have accepted such a politically motivated direction.

"Mr Hawkins is trying to cover up the staffing crisis, particularly in Auckland.

"For the past six months, the Police have posted a staff headcount on their website with full public access. That information showed police numbers in each district and area. It also compared these with monthly and annual averages over that past two years.

"The information showed that Greater Auckland frontline police numbers have dropped in the past two years!

"Only a fortnight ago, the Police Commissioner told staff in a memo that "Police must serve the Minister in a professional manner without being drawn into the political arena, and without eroding the integrity and political neutrality that is expected of them".

"The Police are currently investigating the Prime Minister, and I do not want the public questioning the independence of New Zealand Police. The Commissioner should practice what he preaches and restore the information to the website. The public have a right to know.

"This is another example why National opposes the Police Amendment Bill that would give the Government greater powers over police operations. As Police Minister, I will scrap Labour's Bill," says Mr Ryall.

Ends


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