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Collins Comments - 12 May 2006

Judith Collins Clevedon MP

Collins Comments - 12 May 2006

Finally numbers of Counties Manukau Police Perhaps Police Minister Annette King should be more in tune with the police magazine that features her on this months cover, 'Police News'.

It was here I finally obtained the actual number of frontline officers in the Counties Manukau District. As it turns out Counties Manukau has 649 sworn officers. This is 24 less officers than two years ago. Also while 48 recruits were added in the district in March this year, there were 21 resignations and 25 transfers.

Consequently in the Eastern Police District (Pakuranga, Howick, Clevedon, Botany, Otara) there is only one police officer for every 1,454 residents. This compares to a national average of one officer for every 556 people. Counties-Manukau West (Mangere, Papatoetoe and Otahuhu) has a ratio of one officer to 1100 people. The Police Minister failed to provide the exact numbers of police officers in Counties Manukau.

It is very clear why. Looking at these numbers, I think it is time that we got a petition going. I will put one on my website for downloading, signing and sending back to me to get some action. I don't trust the Minister to do the right thing by Counties -Manukau and I don't trust that she will do the right thing by our local Police.

1000 extra police by the end of 2008? Yeah Right!

The Labour/ New Zealand First coalition Government promised 1,000 extra police by the end of 2008. However, the contradicting statistics should be seriously concerning the Government, as in reality this target will not be achieved. In the year to April sworn police increased by only 130 as 379 officers left the force. With the present rate of attrition new police are basically filling the shoes of previous officers who have resigned or retired.

Also the number of police trainees starting at Police College in 2005 dropped by 20.5% compared to 2002. My fear is the Government will desperately try to get the police numbers they've promised the public and consequently lower entry requirements into the police force.

This is the last thing we need as public opinion of our police force is already dropping. Prior to the current Government police standing in our communities was incredibly high. Instances under Labour such as the 111 call-centre debacle, pornography on police computers and a so-called 'sick' police culture in parts of South Auckland has caused a break-down in respect for the police.

It hasn't helped that the Prime Minister attacked the Police over the Waitara shooting and has used the Police hierarchy for her own political ends. Her treatment of former Commissioner Peter Doone was disgraceful. I understand first-hand that police need all the support they can get, and the Government needs to operate an effective strategy to get more police and the right kind of police.

Don't tag our centre!

The TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre is a place where Counties Manukau can enjoy culture, art, music, business opportunities and most importantly a place where we can unite as a community to share in our talents. However I believe a proposed 4-metre-high and 45 metre-long- graffiti "art" mural defeats the core purpose and values of our new centre.

It seems the mural will be created by two graffiti artists and five Manukau residents who won a 'make your mark' design competition. I agree with some councillors that the mural will encourage more tagging in our areas.

It will endorse a type of graffiti culture whereby current or potential taggers will feel it's okay to do the same on our buildings, fences and street signs. It costs Counties Manukau ratepayers $1million to even try to clean up tagging each year. We're trying to rid this problem, but frankly this graffiti art mural will be a catalyst for future tagging.

I agree with the Principal of Papakura's Kelvin Road School who refused to let his students enter the competition saying his decile 1 school is trying to "rid our city of graffiti". Graffiti is ever prevalent on our streets. We don't need to celebrate it.


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