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1000 police and their families rally in Auckland

Tony Ryall

National Police Spokesperson

1st December 2002

1000 police and their families rally in Auckland

The Auckland policing crisis is another example of George Hawkins' bumbling as a Minister, says National Police spokesman Tony Ryall.

"Strong leadership is needed to arrest plummeting morale and rocketing crime in our largest city.

"When George Hawkins cancelled the recruitment of 240 police officers in early 2001, National told him that huge staff shortages in Auckland would be the result. He ignored our warnings, and today's record staff shortages and spiralling crime in Auckland are the result. When was the last time any Aucklander saw an officer walking their street?

"In Auckland you've got a vicious cycle of police leaving, violence rising, so more police leave and more violence goes unchecked and so on.

"Today's unprecedented rally in Auckland demonstrates the frustration of our professional police officers, and the fear of their families.

"What's needed is stronger leadership from the top, a focus on staff retention and on entry-level crimes. The million dollars wasted on the failed recruitment campaign should have gone into encouraging staff to stay in Auckland. Throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at a doomed police cadet scheme also needs re-directing.

"This should be a wake-up call to the Government. Mr Hawkins tried to cover up the leaky homes scandal, and he's spent the past two years trying to cover up the Auckland policing crisis. Today, sworn police officers are blowing the whistle on Mr Hawkins' incompetence," said Mr Ryall.

Ends

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