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Auckland policing report released

Auckland policing report released

Today's report on Auckland policing is a positive step towards resolving difficulties in the area, although challenges remain, Police Minister George Hawkins says.

The Report on Issues Relating to Policing in the Auckland Area was prepared by Police Commissioner Rob Robinson, following a request from the Minister in late August. It was released at the Auckland Mayoral Forum this morning.

Mr Hawkins said the report acknowledged police working in New Zealand's largest and most rapidly growing city faced unique difficulties.

"It also acknowledges that the policing issues Auckland is currently experiencing have built up over a number of years, and that these will continue if not tackled appropriately now."

Mr Hawkins said he was encouraged by the broad response the report took and new approaches outlined.

He recognised Auckland was still catching up following decimation of police under the previous National government.

"The final report on the Review of Police Administration and Management Structures, published in November 1998, outlined a directive from National to reduce the number of sworn and non sworn staff by hundreds, reduce the number of police districts from 16 to 12, and meet future police costs from anticipated savings of around $35 million each year.

"Clearly we inherited a legacy of neglect."

However, he believed the current police administration had the will to find solutions to Auckland's current problems.

"They know they have the support of this Government which has been and continues to be strongly supportive of the police. We've never backed away from that.

"For instance, under this Government, at nearly $1b this year police have never been better funded. The media pack accompanying this release shows the extent of Government support for police in the Auckland area.

"There are now more than 2000 police in Auckland and there's 80 more bound specifically to the city from the Porirua Police College before Christmas."

The Government had this year put more than $1m into an advertising campaign to attract more recruits. A modern cadet scheme idea floated this year had resulted in nearly 1000 inquiries, and around 80 experienced police recruited especially from the United Kingdom would soon also arrive in the city.

Vehicles with fewer kilometres on the clock, an ongoing station upgrade programme and overall better resourcing had also been hallmarks of the Labour administration.

'"This Government has provided the funding and support for police to do their job. Constitutionally, is not a Minister's role to direct the police on where to place that funding, or what to do with it.

"But having provided the funding, results are expected."

Mr Hawkins said the proactive attitude by police to respond to specific Auckland problems came through strongly, with work already underway on several initiatives suggested in the report.

"For instance, the Commissioner has recently placed in Auckland the head of his support group, Assistant Commissioner Clint Rickards, and Superintendent Mike Wilson,' Mr Hawkins said.

He welcomed the support of Auckland's mayors and the work they were currently undertaking with Assistant Commissioner Rickards and Superintendent Wilson.

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