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George Hawkins to Police Association Conference

67th annual Police Association Conference

Minister's Speech Notes
67th annual Police Association Conference
James Cook Chancellor Hotel
Wednesday 9 October 2002.

Thank you for the opportunity to address the 67th annual police conference today.

The last year has been a time of great achievement, but a year marked by great tragedy.

The year has been a demanding one for Police.

Attending the funeral, along with the Prime Minister and Governor General, of Detective Constable Duncan Taylor in July this year was a devastating experience, and one which I hope never to have to repeat.

I wish to again record the Government's great sorrow at this event.

The year has been demanding for Police in a number of other ways.

Some very high profile cases have been faced and dealt with.

To recall just a few of such cases, these include:
· the Baby Kahu kidnapping,
· the Mt.Wellington RSA case where three people lost their lives
· the death of the pizza worker Marcus Doig
· the ASB bank staffer John Vaughan
· The murder of Lower Hutt woman Kate Alkema.

All of these incidents caused huge public consternation and worry.

But the prompt resolution of those crimes reinforced the regard public have for the professionalism of police.

I believe recent figures showing public confidence in Police at all time high of 75% is a result of this good work.

The year also marked the 10th anniversary of the Police and traffic merger.

It is wonderful to record at the same time significant falls in the numbers of fatal crashes.

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Not enough, certainly - zero fatalities would be the aim.

But it is the Government's goal to achieve no more than 400 fatalities by year 2004

There has been other significant milestones.

· Overall crime is at its lowest rate in 13 years.

· Burglary is at its lowest level in 20 years.

· Resolution rates are in excess of 40% - that's a figure that's been maintained over past three years.

· Five of 12 Police Districts recorded either decreases or increases of less than 1 percent in recorded crime

And as the advertisement says - there's more.

· Police staff levels rose to record high including 2016 non sworn staff.

· Collective employment agreements for sworn and non sworn staff were successfully re-negotiated for the 19 month period from December 2001 - July 2003.

· This year 535 recruits have trained at the Royal New Zealand Police College and there's more due out before Christmas.
· 90 modern cadets aged between 17 -22 will commence training in January next year.

In April this year I announced a $2.5million new initiatives package, including an additional 60 non sworn staff for police support positions.

If I may take this opportunity to recognize the important work non-sworn staff do to support sworn officers.

Non-sworn staff can be found in a range of roles, from call-taking and dispatching in Communication Centres, to speed camera operating and forensic support in numerous operational roles.

As such they shoulder a range of work that frees up sworn officers for other roles.

An important challenge is to recruit staff to more closely resemble the community we serve. The need is to constantly to recruit to meet Police targets covering ethnicity and gender.

Excellent then, to this year see the appointment of the first woman District Commander, Sandra Manderson.

Superintendent Manderson heads up the country's largest police district, Canterbury.

The excellent work of Police Maori liaison officers continues to impress.
I believe Police benefit from the inclusion of Maori perspectives in policy and decision making.

It has also been pleasing to see Police recognize needs within the Pacific Island community, for example, by the appointment this year of a number of Pacific Island liaison officers this year, and the launch just last week of the first Pacific Peoples Advisory Council.

This year also saw the publication of the Police Strategic Plan to 2006.

It's 5 national priorities –
· Violence
· Burglary
· Youth safety
· Organised crime
· And Road safety are, I believe, appropriate areas to be focusing on in that timeframe.

There are some clouds on the horizon.

The two I see as having particular significance are Auckland and the burgeoning methamphetamine problem.

Special circumstances exist around Auckland issues, as you are no doubt well aware, particularly Counties Manukau and Auckland City.

I have asked for a report from the Commissioner on Auckland policing, including staffing issues and he is currently preparing that.

I have to say the Government shares your concerns about methamphetamine, and the destruction to lives it causes.

Legislation has been commenced to change the classification of this drug to class A and a joint Police Customs and Health briefing to responsible Ministers is underway.

Thank you all for your contribution to policing. I know we can to provide an even better service to the public with your co-operation and the support of the Government.

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