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Labour must first rebuild confidence in police

Simon Power National Party Law & Order Spokesman

16 May 2006

Labour must first rebuild confidence in police

The Labour Government must rebuild the public's confidence in the police if they are to have any chance of recruiting 1,000 extra police over the next three years, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

"This Government, under the previous Police Minister and his Commissioner, ran down the public's confidence in the police to rock bottom, so Annette King has a huge job restoring that confidence so people will be interested in joining.

"And the vast majority of the money announced today must be put into resources for the front line, not spent on some flash advertising campaign."

Mr Power is commenting on the announcement today of a package to attract and resource 1,000 police by the end of 2008.

"The question Annette King has not answered is whether the 1,000 extra police will be on top of existing numbers and how she will get those numbers in the timeframe she has outlined.

"For a start, she will have a problem getting past the attrition rate. In the year to April, 379 officers resigned or retired. How is she going to plug that leak in order to get the 1,000 officers on top of the number she already has?

"She could start by asking officers why they are leaving. I still cannot believe they don't ask that question. They certainly have no idea why one third of the officers they recruit from the United Kingdom leave after two years.

"Even inquiries to 0800 NEWCOP have dived by 22% since 2003, with only one in 100 inquiries resulting in a new recruit.

"National will also be watching to make sure new recruits are full-time sworn officers, none of these decoy cops, whose use has grown from only 17 in 2005 to 330 this year.

"The public will be disappointed to learn today that 12% of the new police will be on traffic duty rather than on the beat.

"And there must be no compromise on the quality of recruits just to fill the quota. They recently suggested lowering pre-entry fitness standards of recruits, but the public expects that the extra police will be of the same fitness and standard as present police. "

ENDS

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