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Police shouldn’t have to play ‘pick the priority’

Jacinda Ardern
Police Spokesperson

19 June 2014

Police shouldn’t have to play ‘pick the priority’

Forcing police to pull resources from one area to cover for shortfalls in another is the inevitable consequence of the Government’s $40 million funding cut, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

Police confirmed today that drug squads in four districts – Waikato, Eastern, Bay of Plenty and Central – have been temporarily reassigned to focus on child abuse.

“According to Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess they will continue with that work until Police ‘can shift some other resources or until the problem dissipates’.

“Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“Child abuse is not an issue that needs some temporary boost. It is not going to go away; it needs a long term sustained focus.

“Equally Police cannot afford to take their eye off the ball when it comes to organised crime.

“As Police Association president Greg O’Connor said as long ago as 2010, when police ‘made the mistake of de-prioritising the drugs trade in the late 1990s [it] contributed to the massive growth of the methamphetamine trade with disastrous social consequences’.

“Both areas need an unrelenting focus. It can’t be one or the other.

“Reallocating resources away from one critical area to cope with resource pressures in another is, unfortunately, just further proof that Police Minister Anne Tolley is in denial about the stress police are under.”

ENDS

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