Merry Xmas Boys In Blue
Tuesday 23 Dec 2003
Dr Muriel Newman
Press Releases -- Crime & Justice
ACT New Zealand Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today extended her best wishes to police over the Christmas period - but said that, in light of new information, she strongly doubted they would have the chance of a restful Christmas.
"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions show that, in the 12 months to the end of November, a total of 318 sworn officers left our police force. These figures also reveal staff shortages in areas like Northland, Bay of Plenty and Wellington," Dr Newman said.
"As Kiwis around the country open presents, or tuck into Christmas dinner, they should spare a thought for our over-stretched, under-resourced police - who will be working around the clock to ensure we have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.
"In light of the possibility of protest action by Maori, over Labour's foreshore and seabed proposals, even those police who have been given Christmas leave - and police are currently owed 275,000 hours of leave - may be recalled to work.
"The Government's funding of police, as a percentage of total spending, has continued to decline since Labour has been in office. This shows that Labour is failing in its crucial role of maintaining law and order, a fundamental responsibility of any government.
"Police called for increased funding to fight rising gang and drug crime. Instead, they have received bland assurances. Police requested 169 more officers in the Budget, but received 50 - then 35 were deployed to the Solomon Islands. Further, the meth response teams - announced with all urgency in May's Budget - will not be established until January.
"With violent crime up 15 percent since Labour took office, drug crime - aside from cannabis - leaping 62.7 percent, and crime across the board having risen for the first time in decades, I doubt that police will have the time to relax over Christmas.
"The message Labour continues to send to police is that their needs and concerns are unimportant. This is totally unacceptable. Strengthening the thin blue line should be the Government's priority. Turning its back on the needs of the police is a sign of Labour's failure," Dr Newman said.
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.