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Time for Police Minister to go, says Brash

Don Brash MP - National Party Leader

19 November 2004

Time for Police Minister to go, says Brash

National Party Leader Don Brash says it is time for Police Minister George Hawkins to stand down - for the peace of mind of all New Zealanders.

He is commenting after meeting Maggie and Peter Bentley during a visit to Tauranga today, four weeks after the police emergency 111 system failed them during a home invasion on their remote farm.

"The Bentley debacle was just the latest in a long list of law and order failures under the watch of this Minister and it is time he went. The one time in their lives the Bentleys urgently needed help, they didn't get it.

"And then the Police Commissioner made the astounding comment that if peopllike Maggie need help, they should scream so their calls are taken more seriously.

"That clearly is a sign of a Commissioner under pressure because his Minister is not giving him the resources he needs to do the job.

"Confidence in the police has never been lower - an incompetent Minister and a culture of buck passing within the Labour Government is clearly to blame," Dr Brash says.

This and other 111 bungles are just the latest in a list of failures that this Minister should take responsibility for.

* The Police Prosecutions Service charges five police officers and a driver over the Prime Minister's speeding motorcade, while the Prime Minister gets off without even a mild rebuke.
* Police being diverted from the fight against the destructive methamphetamine epidemic to concentrate on burglary and the road toll.
* Emergency call centres fail to answer calls within time targets.
* A rise in violence, drug and anti-social offences in most areas.
* Police concentrating more on writing revenue-gathering speeding tickets than on fighting crime.
* Youth crime continues to rise despite Helen Clark's pledge to lower it.

"This is clear evidence that this Minister is incompetent and that this Government is soft on crime. George Hawkins is clearly not up to the job.

"Our crime fighters need better backing and better resources. National will make sure they get them," Dr Brash says.


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