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Police Too Stretched Already

Police Too Stretched Already

ACT New Zealand Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today called on the Government to tell the public how the deployment of police to the Solomons would affect crime in New Zealand, after reports that Auckland police were already too busy to pursue a stolen car.

"The Government has said that Auckland police are now fully staffed. Yet last night's incident - where a member of the public was left to follow criminals, because police were too busy to dispatch a unit themselves - paints a different picture," Dr Newman said.

"And if this is the situation when police are `fully staffed', what will it be like when around 40 officers are sent to the Solomon Islands? Contrary to Government assurances, police are stretched, stressed and over-worked - and their burden is about to become heavier.

"While Labour has said that police may not be taken from high crime areas, this deployment will still leave `low crime' areas short of staff - and more vulnerable. Low crime areas could well become high crime areas.

"Police must be seen to be doing their job effectively. Police presence alone can be a huge deterrent for crime. It is clear that police already lack the number to win the war on crime - reducing those numbers could send the problem spiralling out of control.

"While ACT supports the deployment of police and troops to the Solomon Islands, we are concerned with the effect that this move will have on our citizens here at home. I am calling on the Government to assure the public that New Zealanders' safety will not be compromised while so many of our police are overseas," Dr Newman said.

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