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The evidence is clear: dump Hawkins

Hon. Tony Ryall MP - National Police Spokesman

14 December 2004

The evidence is clear: dump Hawkins

National's Police spokesman, Tony Ryall, says the evidence has never been clearer - Police Minister George Hawkins must be dumped before he does further damage to the Police.

He is commenting on a report in Police News which highlights huge and ongoing serious problems in the three police communications centres.

The report says that seven months after the Police Association highlighted systemic failures and high staff turnover, the centres were still operating 'largely on the goodwill and expertise of a dedicated but stressed workforce.'

The report finds:
* Inadequate levels of staffing, with team leaders under 'huge' pressure. * Calls increasing by 9% a year but staff levels static. * 20% of general calls in some centres going unanswered. * Staff unable to take annual leave because of shortages. * Inadequate local knowledge by operators because of lack of training.

Mr Ryall says the report confirms what frontline police and National have been saying all along: that police are working under an increasingly heavy workload and nothing is being done to alleviate it.

"George Hawkins has known about this for months and months, and he has done nothing about it.

"His incompetence is undermining the Police's confidence in themselves and the public's confidence in the Police.

"This is the minister who has overseen the 'Dial 111 and scream' fiasco.

"National remains concerned that the current 111 inquiry will focus only on the call centres, not the wide response capacity of Police, particularly in rural areas." Mr Ryall says.


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