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Papakura’s Petition On Police Numbers

“The Report on the Petition of Geoffrey Amos and 70,980 others relating to Police numbers has finally been reported back to the House by the Justice and Law Reform Select Committee,” says Hunua MP, Warren Kyd. Other similar petitions by Rae Frampton and Claire Stewart were also reported back.

Mr Amos submitted to the Committee that the number of sworn Police numbers should be 7260. The Select Committee found that the number of sworn staff had increased to 6804 as at 16 June 1999 with the target level for 30 June 1999 being 6989.

Mr Kyd said he presented the Petition way back on 7 July 1997 but the Committee has been extremely busy.

Owing to the way figures on sworn positions have been recorded over the years, the Committee found it difficult to pinpoint the accurate number of sworn police officers and make comparisons. The Select Committee was pleased that the Minister of Police and the Police are now recording targeted and actual sworn numbers and have abandoned references to ‘establishment levels’. A minority of members were concerned about the lack of non-sworn police staff and its impact on sworn police officers although the committee and its members were in no way critical of sworn police numbers.

Mr Amos was concerned at the rate of attrition in the Police. The Police argued that they do not have a serious problem with attrition since over 25 years the sworn officers’ attrition rate averaged 5.31% per annum. The Police, however, want to lower this attrition rate and have adopted a number of recommendations to reduce attrition.

The Report considered the recent Police Review aimed at reducing administrative positions by 285 non-sworn and 95 sworn and also aimed at appointing an additional 120 front-line staff by 30 June 2000, the savings to be invested in Police services. The Police anticipate that frontline services will be enhanced and management structures streamlined by this move.

The main debate seems to have been about the issue of non-sworn numbers. On 15 June 1999 the Government announced there would be no further reductions in non-sworn staff arising from the Review and the Government is intending to continue 90 established positions of non-sworn staff that were previously going to be disestablished. The Government requested a report on alternative measures of Police capacity, efficiency and effectiveness by 31 January 1999 which has yet to be completed.

Mr Kyd said he is pleased that the report was not critical of sworn Police numbers although a minority of members were concerned about the lack of non-sworn Police staff.

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