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Police Minister's Priorities Are All Wrong

Immediate Release: Boxing Day, 2002

Police Minister's Priorities Are All Wrong

The revelation over the Christmas break that Labour has increased the number of expensive police head office desk jobs at the expense of frontline policing is very serious, ACT New Zealand Leader and former Minister of Police Hon. Richard Prebble said today.

"Successive governments have promised to cut police paperwork and bureaucracy, and increase police numbers.

"In Opposition, Labour was rightly critical of expensive police headquarters projects like the INCIS computer. Police Minister George Hawkins claimed that under Labour, there would be a change in culture, an emphasis on frontline policing, and police dealing promptly with issues of public concern like burglaries.

"It is possible for the Government, via its contract with the Police Commissioner, to change the emphasis of policing. When I was Minister, I introduced community policing and managed to open a new community police station every week.

"It has been clear for a long time that the police force has too many "Generals" and not enough "Foot Soldiers". Labour has been in office for three years and it is now resorting to tired PR stunts like drink-driving blitzes over Christmas - which I believe have resulted in very few apprehensions - instead of putting time into offences like burglaries.

"It is safe to predict that a large number of New Zealanders will be returning from their Christmas holidays to find their homes have been burgled. I also predict the Minister of Police's reaction will be to ask for yet another Report - and the only change will be that the person writing it will be paid more," Mr Prebble said.


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