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Alexander: Despite the spin - cop numbers are down

Friday, 5 November , 2004

Alexander: Despite the spin - cop numbers are down

Despite all of Police Minister George Hawkins' rhetoric to the contrary, police numbers per head of population are now below 1994 figures, United Future law and order spokesman Marc Alexander said today. "While police numbers have fluctuated over the years, the number of sworn police was 18.68 per 10,000 New Zealanders back in 1994. Today we have 17.98 per 10,000," he said.

"Then when you factor in the police numbers being diverted into revenue gathering from traffic infringements, at times referred to by other police as 'snakes', the under-reporting of crime; the lack of confidence in 111 calls, which as a result have suffered a 50% decline, the increasing public reliance on private policing and security then it's no wonder that the reality of crime far exceeds official perceptions"

In the same decade an overall increase in police numbers from 8450 to 9585 needs to be seen against the increasing proportion of non-sworn staff and an overall population increase from 3.6 million to 4 million, he said. "What we need is a return to basics: more frontline cops on the beat, better recruitment strategies and less politics," Mr Alexander said. "People are sick and tired of being told they are safer while in the process of being mugged."


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