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Police Report Slates Government


Police Report Slates Government

Today's brave report by the Police Commissioner reveals that Labour's reduction in police spending and failure to address the country's growing crime rate have led to immense pressures for New Zealand's police force, ACT New Zealand Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Police in Auckland are hardest hit - they are faced with rapidly increasing levels of violent behaviour, dishonesty - particularly vehicle-related crime - and organised crime.

"What compounds these problems is the Government's attitude to funding. Labour has dumped the previous flexibility where the Commissioner and District Commanders could deploy staff and resources as required - instead, the Minister dictates where money should go. That's called political interference in my book.

"Labour has failed to improve recruitment or retention levels. The Auckland police districts are 120 sworn, and 60 non-sworn, staff below the target which was supposed to be met in June 2002. If Mr Hawkins doesn't accept responsibility for that failure, then he is fooling himself.

"The Commissioner airs concerns that target strength will not be reached until June 2003. That's an extremely frightening prospect, when the Auckland rate of violent crime is the highest in four years, and rising.

"These pressures are not limited to Auckland. International events like the America's Cup mean police are being drawn from all over the country - from areas already straining under the pressures placed on them by Government failures.

"Under the Labour Government police spending has dropped - from less than two percent of the total budget in 1999-2000, to 1.7 percent the following year.

"This Government has failed the police and the people of New Zealand.

"ACT New Zealand believes police must be given the funding and the mandate to adopt a zero tolerance approach to crime - proven in New York. Until the Government releases its stranglehold on police funding, our country will continue to become a dangerous place to live," Dr Newman said.


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