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Access Will Stretch Stretched Police Resources

14 January 2004
PR 005/05

Access Will Stretch Stretched Police Resources

Already stretched police resources will be extended even further if the Government goes ahead with its proposal to take away landowners rights to control who can come onto their land, said Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Vice President Charlie Pedersen.

Mr Pedersen was responding to figures released by the Minister of Police George Hawkins that show the police set deadlines to respond are not being met. Currently the police deadline for responding to rural priority one calls is half an hour, but in some rural areas a police response takes almost twice as long.

"Access policy announced before Christmas clearly has not taken into account the reality of rural policing as shown by the police response figures. If the Police are struggling to cope now, how does the Government expect them to cope when farmers lose the right to control who comes onto their land?

The Government proposes to allow the public to walk on a minimum of a five metre wide strip of private land along all significant waterways.

“Opening up access to private land for millions of New Zealanders and overseas tourists will create an impossible challenge for the Police. How are the landowners to feel safe when the Government proposes allowing people to walk across their land, at the same time knowing that it is unable to provide a sufficient police force to deliver rural security?,” Mr Pedersen said.

“A two pronged approach is required to ensure rural safety. Landowners must be able to ensure the security of their family, property and business by retaining the right to say no to public access and the Government needs to take a serious look at rural police resources.”

“Rural people value their community police force and consider them to be an integral part of their safety. But with limited resources the Police can’t be expected to do the impossible. Opening up access across private land will make the situation worse,” Mr Pedersen concluded.

ENDS

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