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Labour will struggle to get 1,000 extra police

Simon Power National Party Law & Order Spokesman

25 April 2006

Labour will struggle to get 1,000 extra police

The Government will struggle to deliver on its promise of 1,000 extra frontline police before the next election, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

"The present rate of attrition in the police means they will fall short of their target of 1,000 extra sworn police in the next two-and-a-half years.

"There is a public expectation that there will be 1,000 extra police on top of the present 7,300 by the end of 2008.

"The February monthly Police HR Scorecard reveals that in the year to March, the Police gained 473 sworn staff but lost 391 - a net increase of only 82. Over the same period, resignations rose from 202 to 254, and retirements from 40 to 80.

"Annette King talks about a net gain of 400 new sworn staff this year, but she knows she will not achieve that. At the current attrition rate of 5.1%, they will have to train 818 officers to achieve a net gain of 400. And that's assuming the attrition rate remains steady, when it has already increased from 4.1% in 2004, to 5.1%.

"Even the Police Association estimates that 2,500 additional police are required to yield an extra 1,000 over the next three years.

"Hiring police from the UK is proving not to be the answer the Government was hoping it would be. Of the 76 recruited from there in 2003, only 51 are still in the Police, an attrition rate of one third. At that rate, of the 157 being recruited this year there will be only about 100 left in a couple of years.

"And, as if recruitment is not hard enough, Police Minister Annette King admits she does not know why police are leaving - because Police don't record the reasons.

"I would have thought that is a basic of human resource management - if you don't bother to ask why staff are leaving how are you going to fix things so more stay?

"What all this means is that by the time the extra police are hired they will be merely replacing those who have left, and Labour and NZ First will have made little difference to the total number of police on the front line.

"I hope Ron Mark, who claimed a huge victory over the NZ First deal with Labour over extra police, is asking some hard questions of the Police Minister. I expect he will soon realise that it is not as easy as Labour would have him believe."

Answer to parliamentary question 02928 (2006)

2928 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister of Police (29 March 2006):
For each year of the last ten years, how many police officers resigned from the police force, specified by reason given? Hon Annette King (Minister of Police) replied: Hon Annette King (Minister of Police) replied:

I am advised that Police do not record the reason given by staff resigning. The member is referred to the Law & Order Select Committee reports and submission made by Police to that committee.

This reply also answers question for written answer no. 2929 (2006).


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