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Police Minister welcomes new graduates

Police Minister welcomes new graduates

Today's addition of 66 police officers to frontline duty across the country is a further indication of the Labour-led Government's commitment to making New Zealand a safer place, Police Minister George Hawkins said today.

Mr Hawkins congratulated the members of Wing 222 who graduated today from the Royal New Zealand Police College at Porirua. A total of 592 officers are due to graduate this fiscal year.

"We have given Police the resources they requested to tackle crime and all the evidence proves that they are succeeding," said Mr Hawkins. "The recent desperate attempts by some politicians to undermine public confidence in police and to question this Government's commitment to law and order are totally at odds with the facts.

"Since 1999 Police staff has risen by more than a thousand, from 8767 to 9849. Over the same period, the number of crimes has fallen through the floor: down 36,000 last year alone.

"The simple fact is that New Zealand is a safer place to live in than it was in the 1990's and that is due to this Government giving Police the resources it needs to do its job.

"The graduation today of the 66 members of Wing 222 will further boost Police staffing levels around the country.

"A particularly pleasing aspect of today's graduation is the diversity of cultures these graduates represent," said Mr Hawkins. "They include people with Maori, European, Pacific Island, Chinese, Indian and Korean heritage.

"A mix of backgrounds helps police relate to and communicate with the communities they serve."

Mr Hawkins congratulated all the new graduates, in particular Constable Colin Robson, who was awarded the Minister's Prize for First in Wing.

The biggest contingent of new graduates will head north to Auckland, with 12 for the Auckland City District, eight for North Shore and 11 for Counties-Manukau. Seven graduates go to the Central District and 16 to Wellington.

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