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New policing centre for Wiri

Fri, 21 May 2004

New policing centre for Wiri

A $13m policing centre has been announced as part of Budget 2004

A new Policing Centre to be built in Wiri's Station Rd will provide a further boost to policing in Auckland.

Police Minister George Hawkins today announced as part of Budget 2004 the new Wiri Policing Centre, which will cost approximately $13m to build and an additional $1.8m over four years to operate. This is on top of over $60m already being spent on police capital works over five years.

The new Centre, to be built adjacent to the Manukau District Courts building, was likely to cover around 4-5000sqm and house about 300 District staff, Mr Hawkins said. It would also become the District's main Police custodial facility.

"The Centre will in effect be the primary operational facility for the central area within the Counties Manukau District," Mr Hawkins said.

Its central location and proximity to the Courts building would greatly enhance operational policing efficiency, with the main benefits being in prisoner handling and prosecutions areas. District headquarters also would be located in the new facility.

"As well, the Strategic Traffic Group, Custodial Services, Prosecutions, the Manurewa Law Enforcement Team and a number of smaller cross-District groups will be based in the Centre."

Mr Hawkins said it was likely to be 18 months to two years before the Centre could be occupied. District functions now located at Harlech House would likely be moved to the new Centre, with Auckland Region Metro Crime functions likely to remain at Harlech House.

"New Zealand already has record police numbers and a record police budget, and the new Centre underlines government commitment to keeping pressure on criminals," Mr Hawkins said.

When completed, the Centre would become one of approximately 20 new police stations built since the Labour-led government took office in December 1999. Four new stations are currently under construction nationally, with work on another three stations planned to commence this year. In addition, almost 50 stations had been upgraded or extensively refurbished since late 1999, Mr Hawkins said.

Counties Manukau police numbers had risen from 695 sworn and 111 non-sworn staff in 1 July 2000 to 775 sworn and 166 non-sworn staff at the end of April 2004.

Mr Hawkins said local police, under the leadership of Senior Sergeant Richard Middleton, deserved congratulations for the turnaround in Manurewa crime, which showed decreases in reported serious and minor assaults, burglary, fraud and theft.

Also announced this week as part of Budget 2004 was $14.8 million over the next four years to allow 35 additional Police (28 sworn and 7 non-sworn staff) to be deployed for specific national security duties during the current financial year.

The majority (24 sworn and 5 non-sworn staff) will go to units conducting investigative and intelligence-related work. An identity fraud team and a South and West Pacific Police liaison post in Suva will also be established.

As well, an additional $39 million has been allocated to tackle the methamphetamine trade and organised crime over the next four years.

Heading the initiatives are resources to ensure an effective crackdown on drug manufacturers.

These include:

·A third 12-person Police 'clan lab' team; four chemical intelligence analysts, and the creation of a national supervisor position to coordinate Police meth operations.

·Increased meth analysis work by Environmental Science and Research (ESR) as a result of recent recruitment, will be matched by additional funding of $17 million over four years. ESR is to hire a further six scientists and technicians by Christmas, including one scientist who will start next Monday, which will bring its meth analysis team to 18.

·The National Interception Centre (NIC), which undertakes electronic intelligence aimed at organised crime and gang involvement in the drug trade, will see staff increase from 13 to 31.

·A third six-person surveillance team plus additional technical support for the Auckland Metro Crimes Services group, which focuses on on-the-ground surveillance of gangs and trans-national organised crime.

·Three research projects into what underlies the phenomenon of methamphetamine abuse, and possible solutions, will also be funded.


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