Govt. increases investment in police force

More than 1100 police officers will be added to the force over the next four years. Times file photo.

Prime Minister Bill English has announced a greater investment into New Zealand Police in the next four years.

The new $503 million Safer Communities package will be primarily based on targeting and catching offenders, preventing crime and reducing victimisation, and delivering a more responsive police service.

It includes a significant focus on increasing police attendance at home burglaries, seizing more assets from organised crime, reducing deaths from family violence and reducing re-offending by Maori.

Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross said although it will not be easy to meet all of the targets, the police are “not here to shy away from the hard issues”.

“Having more police on the streets will see crime reduce. We know from the big boost in justice and police funding at the start of the National government in 2008 that more resources do see crime steadily trend downwards. We don’t want to see overall crime rise again, so giving the police more resource is important.

“The public have told us they want more effort put into law and order, and now we are responding.”

An additional 1100 police staff will be added as a result of the extra investment, which will increase the size of the police force by 10 per cent over the next four years.

Mr Ross said he is hopeful the Counties Manukau district will receive a decent portion of this staffing increase, allowing it to continue the good work preventing crime in the Botany and Howick area.

A new national 24/7 phone number for non-emergencies, more specialist investigators for child protection, sexual assault, family violence and other serious crime, as well as additional resources for the police are also included in the package.

New Zealand Police Association president Chris Cahill said these extra resources will make a valuable difference to the fight against crime.

“This package shows the government has done its homework, and while ideally we would like the extra staff immediately, knowing that the cavalry is on its way will be a positive for police in making future plans,” he said.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister represents a very significant and welcome investment in New Zealand Police, and hopes it will encourage prospective officers to consider joining the force.

“Policing is an exciting and rewarding career, and I encourage all New Zealanders who have thought about becoming an officer to take a look at the difference you could make with us.”