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SNEN demonstration launch

Hon Annette King
Minister of Police

24 November 2006 Speech Notes

SNEN demonstration launch

Thank you to Superintendent Steve Christian, project manager for the SNEN demonstration, for his introduction.

And the first thing I want to do today is to congratulate Steve and his project team, as well as the National Manager of Communications Centres, Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald, and Superintendent John van der Heyden, who has been acting in Steve Fitzgerald’s role, for bringing the SNEN project to this point.

I also want to acknowledge Police Commissioner Howard Broad and other NZ Police staff here today, particularly SNEN national manager Inspector Karen Wilson, who will lead a call-taking demonstration shortly.

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, I want to acknowledge New South Wales Acting Assistant Commissioner Mick Corboy, chair of the Independent External Review Panel that reviewed the Police Communications Centres last year.

One of the panel’s recommendations was to consider introducing a single non-emergency number for New Zealand, and I will be interested to hear Acting Assistant Commissioner Corboy’s response to our progress.

Today’s official launch of the SNEN Demonstration Project marks an important milestone, but, as many of you know, the project actually went live last Saturday.

I understand you will hear more shortly about how the first few days have gone, and I have a couple of stories to tell as well, but I think it is certainly encouraging that more than 1000 calls have come in already.

As you know, this SNEN Demonstration Project involves a live demonstration in two police districts, Auckland and Bay of Plenty, designed to test the systems and processes that would be needed to implement such a service nationally.

The Independent External Panel believed that a single national number would take pressure off the 111 system, which currently also takes calls about non-urgent crime.

Police hope to gather enough information from this SNEN demonstration to allow decisions to be made about choosing and introducing a Single Non-Emergency Number for the whole country. I am sure everyone here wishes the project great success. As far as I am concerned, it is already a significant achievement getting this far.

The Government’s confirmed its support for this initiative in this year’s Budget by allocating $3.5 million per year in ongoing funding for the demonstration. The Budget also allocated $850,000 capital spending per year for the first three years to cover capital costs for the project.

This demonstration will run through next year, and a thorough evaluation will begin in July 2007. A decision will then be made on where to from there. Needless to say, I will be awaiting the evaluation with considerable interest.

I am sure we all hope the demonstration project realises its great potential, and the evaluation shows that a nationwide single non-emergency number is viable.

If that happens, then a nationwide SNEN will take pressure off the 111 service, it will provide a far better resource for the police, and a far better service to the public, whose safety is the paramount consideration in this whole exercise.

And now for those two stories I promised to tell you, and which I think illustrate the SNEN’s potential to provide people with a great service.

One call came in this week from a Cantonese speaker, who wanted to report that his car had been stolen. He was able to speak to Mabel Wong, one of our Cantonese-speaking Community Service Advisors and give her full details about what had happened.

Apparently those in the centre at the time were amazed that she was speaking in Cantonese and typing in English!

On the same day, one of our Mandarin speakers was also able to take a burglary complaint.

Both callers were very impressed with the service they received, and so am I. I think it's tremendous.

So congratulations again to everyone who has been part of the team, and I wish you all the best over the coming months.

I am delighted to be launching the “go live” stage today. Thank you again very much for asking me to join you.


ENDS

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