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No Civilians On The Front Line

No Civilians On The Front Line

Monday 28 Jun 2004

Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases -Crime

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded an assurance from Police Minister George Hawkins that police would not require non-sworn staff to perform front-line duties.

"Media reports today have outlined concern that police have been using civilian staff to help investigate burglary crime scenes," Dr Newman said.

"Police are already overstretched and understaffed. New Zealand's remains one of the most understaffed police forces on a per head of population basis - we would need an additional 2,300 sworn officers to match the policing rates in Australia, and another 4,195 to match those of the US.

"Using civilian staff for secondary duties, such as finger-printing and administration, is a perfectly acceptable way to ensure that sworn officers are not tied up when they could be on the streets tackling crime - so long as that is all that non-sworn staff are doing.

"But Mr Hawkins must be clear about the ways in which these non-sworn staff will be used. The public deserves to know that, when they call the police for help, it is the police who show up - not a civilian who is neither authorised, nor equipped, to assist them.

"Thanks to Labour's soft-on-crime policies, public confidence in police is already slipping. I am calling on the Minister to assure the public that police are not so overstretched and under-resourced that they will be requiring civilians to perform front-line, core-policing duties that only sworn officers should be doing," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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