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King welcomes non-emergency call handling progress

Police Minister Hon Annette King has welcomed the progress Police have made on developing a new non-emergency call handling service.

The Minister is attending a function in the Northern Communications Centre tonight where Police will give more details about the demonstration of the service planned to start in November this year.

"I'm pleased that we're moving closer to implementing one of the key recommendations made in the Independent Review Panel Report on the Communications Centres."

The Government signalled its support for the project in this year's Budget, allocating $3.5 million per year in ongoing funding for the demonstration, which is to be carried out in Auckland and Bay of Plenty, covering a large part of New Zealand's population. The Budget also allocated $850,000 capital spending per year for the first three year years to cover capital costs associated with the demonstration.

"We believe a national non-emergency call handling service would benefit New Zealanders by taking the load off the 111 emergency number and giving the public a convenient telephone contact point with the Police for non-urgent matters.

"We want it to potentially be a key ingredient in the overall mix of initiatives the Government is promoting to enhance the safety and security of New Zealand's families and communities.

Ms King says the demonstration project will be worked through carefully.

"We need to take it in stages to make sure we get it right before we think about introducing a national service. The demonstration project is an important first step along the way."


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