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Zero Tolerance policing in New Zealand

Newman Online 10 June 2005

Weekly commentary by Dr Muriel Newman MP

Zero Tolerance policing in New Zealand

This week Newman Online looks at ACT's newly released crime and justice policy, which would see the number of police increase by 2,500

You have heard how ACT’s vision is to make New Zealand one of the safest countries on earth - and how getting tough on violent crime is a key.

Well, central to that strategy is Zero Tolerance Policing.

Zero Tolerance policing involves cracking down on crime no matter how small, sending the signal that crime does not pay and preventing small time offenders graduating to serious violent crime

Whenever police are given resourcing and mandate to take a zero tolerance approach crime has fallen dramatically.

That is why giving the police resources to do their job properly is central to ACT’s Crime and Justice policy.

New Zealand has one of the highest crime rates in the world. Our police force is one of the most overworked.

According to a UN survey, New Zealand is second in the developed world in terms of crime cases per police officer.

Well it’s time to give the police the support they need to enable them to do their job properly and play their part in bringing crime in New Zealand right down.

Firstly ACT would boost police force numbers over 3 years with an extra 2,500 Police officers to match the policing rate in Australia.

This will cost $250million and if Labour says its not affordable, then we should remind ourselves that they wasted almost that amount a year in running dubious courses at Te Wananga.

The reality is that police budgets desperately need to be boosted to make up for the cuts that Labour has imposed since being government.

When Labour was elected in1999, policing made up 2.21% of government spending.

Last month’s budget revealed policing has now been cut to 1.97% of government spending.

Just $950 million out of a $48 billion budget.

ACT’s additional resourcing would provide a catch-up.

Taking police spending to around 2.5% would enable police to not only adopt zero tolerance policing, but it would also enable the 111 emergency service to be improved to the world class standard that New Zealanders deserve.

Further, ACT would re-prioritise policing in line with our zero tolerance approach.

To ensure police focussed on fighting crime and keeping us safe as their first priority rather that traffic ticketing.

Under Labour police have been turned into traffic wardens, doubling the infringement revenue collected by this greedy government.

To the point where Kiwis are five times more likely to get a traffic ticket than motorists in the UK. Their target this year is 1.5 million tickets, that’s one for every New Zealand household!

As a result, confidence and goodwill in the police has plummeted to an all-time low.

Secondly ACT will also investigate the wisdom of combining police and the traffic safety service. It may, in fact, be time to look at separating them again.

By boosting Police numbers and resourcing and refocusing police on fighting crime we would begin the process of rebuilding public confidence in the Police.

Our police used to enjoy nearly 100% public confidence. ACT’s goal is to restore confidence in the police back to that level and make New Zealand one of the safest countries in the world once again.

ENDS

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