Police officers see relief in sight – Police Association
“Frontline police officers around New Zealand will be watching the current political discussion around police numbers with a great sense of relief that their plight has been acknowledged”, Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.
Mr O’Connor was responding to the fact that Labour, NZ First, Auckland mayoral candidate Phil Goff, and now the Prime Minister have all clearly seen the need to increase police numbers and are setting policy accordingly.
Mr O'Connor said, “NZ First leader Winston Peters indicated today he believed an increase of 1800 police was needed, Labour have acknowledged that there are simply not enough police, Phil Goff has pointed out that in recent times numbers of Auckland police alone have only increased by one new officer per year, despite huge increases in population, and now the Prime Minister has said that an increase in police numbers is ‘likely’ as the population grows”.
“The Police Association has been concerned for some time that the increase in calls for service from the public and now an increase in crime, both reflective of population increases, have not been addressed by a corresponding increase in police numbers or budget.
“The public of New Zealand, along with those police officers who are tasked with protecting them, should take some comfort that the lack of police has now been clearly recognised at the highest levels. While it will take some time for the numbers to materialise into actual feet on the street, the fact the problem is now recognised means we can work on a solution.
“The Government began increasing Counties Manukau numbers by 300 in 2008, and that had a significant impact on making that district a much safer place. The same proportionate increase in each of the other 11 districts would make New Zealand safer for New Zealanders.
“New Zealand increasingly has the opportunity to be seen as the safest place to visit and do business, but this will not happen unless we invest strategically in law and order capability", Mr O’Connor said.
“New Zealand Police have introduced new structures, practices and technology which has increased efficiency considerably in recent times. These changes have mitigated to a certain extent the falling police to population ratios, but the time has now come to address the shortages.
“The Association remains politically neutral through such debates, and will continue its strategy of supporting good policies and not political parties”, he said.