More po­lice of­fi­cers on duty for longer

Central Leader - - SITUATIONS VACANT - JO MOIR

An ex­tra 20 po­lice sta­tions around the coun­try will be ramped up to a 24/7 cop pres­ence over the next four years.

The an­nounce­ment last week by Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mike Bush and Po­lice Min­is­ter Paula Ben­nett pro­vides the de­tails of a $503 mil­lion pack­age over four years to pro­vide 880 more sworn of­fi­cers, which Prime Min­is­ter Bill English com­mit­ted in Fe­bru­ary this year.

Bush said one po­lice tar­get has been for 95 per cent of New Zealan­ders to live within 25 kilo­me­tres of a 24/7 po­lice base by 2022.

‘‘We recog­nise that our re­gional com­mu­ni­ties have dif­fer­ent pres­sures and con­cerns and feel safer if they know a 24/7 po­lice re­sponse ser­vice is nearby.’’

The ad­di­tional 24/7 sta­tions mean ac­tive pa­trols will ex­pand to cover more than 200,000 ex­tra Ki­wis.

The first four bases to be up­graded dur­ing 2017/18 will be Kaitaia, Mata­mata, Wairoa and Rolle­ston.

Over the next four years the roll­out will con­tinue and North Is­land lo­ca­tions in­clude: Kaikohe/Kerik­eri, Wark­worth/ Wells­ford, Dan­nevirke/ Waipuku­rau, Tau­marunui, Te Kuiti, Thames, Dar­gav­ille, He­lensville, and Strat­ford.

Ben­nett said the Safer Com­mu­ni­ties pack­age, which also in­cludes 245 non-sworn staff, co­in­cides with po­lice re­cruit ap­pli­ca­tions be­ing at an ‘‘all-time high’’ with twice the num­ber of ap­pli­cants over Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary in 2017 as the same pe­riod in 2016.

‘‘Now that the Com­mis­sioner has al­lo­cated these staff, it is up to the District Com­man­ders to work though which areas within the district they’ll be based in. I can make the as­sur­ance that ev­ery area will get more of­fi­cers,’’ she said.

Labour’s po­lice spokesman Stu­art Nash said many New Zealan­ders would be sur­prised to know that places like Wairoa, Kaitaia, Mata­mata and Rolle­ston don’t have 24/7 sta­tions at the mo­ment.

The in­vest­ment will also mean an ex­tra 80 po­lice can fo­cus on or­gan­ised crime and 140 new staff will fo­cus on fam­ily harm, child pro­tec­tion and adult sex­ual as­sault, Bush said.

The Gov­ern­ment is also rolling out a new na­tional 24/7 phone num­ber for non-emer­gen­cies to take pres­sure off the 111 sys­tem.

DAVID WHITE/FAIRFAX NZ

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mike Bush says the first new po­lice re­cruits as part of a $503 mil­lion gov­ern­ment pack­age will grad­u­ate in Oc­to­ber.

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