Another Kaitaia homicide will further stretch staff
“News this morning that the Far North policing area now has their fourth homicide this year is just more evidence of why policing issues in the area need to be addressed,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.
Mr O’Connor was commenting on the police investigation into the fatal stabbing of a 77-year-old man in Te Kao overnight.
“I have personally visited the Far North twice this year and staff are under extreme pressure to try to keep the lid on a burgeoning gang and drug problem. I have highlighted the issue to the Police administration, and some short term relief has been forthcoming,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Kaitaia and the Far North are a symptom of the problem which has seen the police to population ratio in New Zealand slip from one officer per 515 head of population in 2014 to today’s one officer for every 528 people.
“Despite assurances to the contrary, there has been no change to the RAT (Resource Allocation Target) figure target for sworn police in New Zealand which is 8,907. This figure is rarely reached, and as of last month, the number of sworn police (excluding Authorised Officers) sat at 8,604,” he said.*
“Police numbers do make a difference, as evidenced by the considerable input made in Counties Manukau post-2008, when the government increased staff numbers by 300. Were the same percentage increase to be applied to every other police district, a considerable difference could be made to the safety of the public in New Zealand.
“As further evidence of the impact of reduced police numbers, the road toll has increased considerably at a time when police are being forced to reduce road policing staff numbers by 111,” Mr O’Connor said.
*Source: NZ Police Monthly HR Report. The number of total constabulary including Authorised Officers was 8,837.