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New Staff Must Go To Frontline

Media Release

For Immediate Release
Thursday, 22 May 2008

New Staff Must Go To Frontline


Confirmation in the Budget of funding for the third tranche of the 1000 new sworn and 250 non-sworn police promised in 2005 is welcome, but the funds must be used to boost frontline numbers, Police Association Vice-President Stuart Mills said today.

"The resource is being delivered, but so far too little of it is going to the frontline - I-cars, and General Duties shift work, where staff are still under real pressure and dealing with ever more violence. There must be much more focus on reinforcing the primary response capability through this third tranche," Mr Mills said.

Mr Mills cautioned against any belief that completion of the '1000-new police' promise means "the job is now done."

"New Zealand is still significantly under-policed compared with other countries such as Australia. As of today, we are still around 1,700 sworn police short of having police-to-population ratios comparable to those across the Tasman."

Mr Mills also welcomed commitment of $15 million in capital funding to deliver a secure digital radio network.

"Secure communications are a basic matter of police safety and effectiveness. We have known for a long time that criminals with cheap handheld radio scanners have been able to listen in on police communications and know exactly who is on duty and where they are. The shift to secure digital communications has been talked about for a long time, and it's great we are now getting the money to make it happen."

Mr Mills said the biggest concern was the apparent lack of a funding boost associated directly with the recently announced Organised and Financial Crime Agency (OFCANZ).

"For OFCANZ to be effective, Police will need an overall boost in surveillance, intelligence, and investigative resources. If the plan is simply to transfer resources from elsewhere in Police and concentrate them in OFCANZ, we will simply be 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'," Mr Mills said.

ENDS

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