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King's 'Regret' Cold Comfort For Front Line

13 December 2006

King's 'Regret' Cold Comfort For Ill Equipped Front Line

Police Minister Annette King’s statement of ‘regret’ to police officers injured by stabbing or cutting weapons due to the lengthy delay in issuing stab-resistant body armour will come as cold comfort for those injured officers, said New Zealand First law and order spokesman Ron Mark today.

“The Minister yesterday expressed her ‘regret’ that body armour was not available to the 15 officers stabbed or slashed since frontline police were first promised they would be equipped with body armour. Her regret will be cold comfort for those injured officers and the hundreds of officers who will once again face the prospect of confronting drunken revellers over the Christmas and New Year period without adequate protection,” said Mr Mark.

“While I am pleased to hear that body armour is finally to be rolled out in South Auckland from next week, it has taken constant pressure and cajoling to get the Government to commit to, and deploy what should be considered a basic health and safety requirement for front line police officers.

“I remain concerned that despite the Minister having acknowledged in September the urgent need for body armour, officers in the majority of police districts will not receive their armour until April 2007.

“New Zealand First intends to maintain pressure on the Minister’s office to ensure those directly responsible for the deployment of stab-resistant armour actually keep their latest promise as one more officer being stabbed without protection is one officer too many,” concluded Mr Mark.

ENDS

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