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Cops spend only half their time on crime

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesman

7 December 2003

Cops spend only half their time on crime

The National Party has released figures showing that the police only spend around half their time fighting crime.

In answer to a parliamentary question from National's Police spokesman, Tony Ryall, the Police Minister has revealed that only 55% of police time is spent preventing crime - while almost a quarter of the police force is on leave at any one time.

"No wonder people say they never see a police officer on the street anymore. This Government is running a part-time police force," says Mr Ryall.

"The 55% figure covers not only crime prevention, but also the administrative work that's part of policing. Last month we revealed that a third of a highway patrol officer's job is paperwork (WQ 10976), and it won't be much different for a cop on the beat.

"It is hardly surprising that violence is at record levels when in reality less than half the New Zealand police force is working on preventing and solving crime."

Mr Ryall says police will only cut crime if they can focus their efforts on maintaining order and eliminating the conditions that allow it to flourish.

"They can't do this if they are desk-bound. It's time for a change in fighting crime.

"National wants more officers on the beat dedicated to maintaining order and preventing entry-level crime that leads to serious offending. Local police must have the resources they need to do the job properly.

"We want the rest of the criminal justice system backing police efforts through greater co-operation - for example, better integration of probation and policing. We will also toughen the law on confiscating the assets of the drug-dealing gangs.

"With only half of police time spent fighting crime and almost a fifth on road policing, New Zealanders must wonder where their tax dollars are going. Violence is up, drug crime is rampant, road deaths are up, and the Minister thinks he's beating the problem," says Mr Ryall.


11320 (2003). Hon Tony Ryall to the Minister of Police (11 November 2003):
How much time does the average sworn police officer spend on each of administration activities, crime, on-road speed enforcement activities and other activities?
Hon George Hawkins (Minister of Police) replied: The following table shows the total time spent by all sworn police members
of police on a number of activity categories in the 2002/03 fiscal year:

Activity Percentage of time %

Crime and community outputs 54.7
Training/Personnel/Management 7.9
Leave 22.7
Speed enforcement activities 2.7
Other road policing activities 12.0

Please note:

"Training/Personnel/Management" includes training and personnel
activities, and policing overheads such as information and technology,
legal, management, and public affairs.
"Leave" may include annual leave, parental leave, maternity leave, sick
leave, long service leave, leave without pay, leave for military
training, bereavement leave, study leave, leave for first aid training,
and leave for search and rescue operations, and time off in lieu of
Total road policing activities for all sworn staff represent 14.7
percent of total sworn time in 2002/03, or 21.2 percent of the total
sworn productive hours.


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