The Coalition commitment to add 1800 new Police officers to frontline policing has been achieved with the graduation of 59 constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters say today’s graduation means 1825 new Police have been deployed all over the country since October 2017.
Coalition achievements in police recruitment and community safety initiatives include:
· 2019 projected to see the largest increase in Police numbers, outside the merger of Police and traffic safety services in 1992-1993, since Police were first established in 1886.
· Total Police workforce is now the largest it has ever been, and expected to surpass 14,000 by early 2020.
· Police constabulary stands at 9838 officers, an increase of more than 11% since the start of the 2017-18 financial year.
· The current recruitment drive has seen the number of Maori Police officers exceed 1000 for the first time, the number of female officers exceed 2000 for the first time and Pasifika officers exceed 500 for the first time.
“After nine years of neglect the Coalition Government has well and truly turned around the decline in numbers of frontline police who help keep our communities safe,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“I’m incredibly proud that this year the Government will deliver the largest growth in police numbers ever recorded in a single year, outside of major restructuring, since the Police force was established in 1886.
“I grew up in a Police household and I know first-hand that frontline officers are at the heart of every neighbourhood, rural district, small town and big urban centre,” says Jacinda Ardern.
“The graduation of Recruit Wing 332 is an historic moment for the Coalition Government. It delivers on a fundamental promise to help Police focus on crime prevention and build safer and more connected communities,” Winston Peters said.
“The Coalition Agreement made a strong commitment to increase the number of new Police to help tackle organised crime and that is exactly what we are delivering on.
“The big increase in Police numbers means we now have significantly more frontline officers for communities outside the main centres in provincial New Zealand which was forgotten by the previous Government.
“The rollout of new Police has set records all over the country, especially regions like Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Eastern and Central Districts and the South Island,” Winston Peters said.
“The wellbeing of communities has always been central to our Government’s programme,” says Stuart Nash. “The constables graduating today have a tough job ahead of them.”
“They will work to remove unlawful firearms from our communities, fight the threat from organised crime, gangs and extremist networks, reduce harm from methamphetamine, and disrupt transnational crime, child sex exploitation, and cyber-crime.
“Police are committed to reducing family harm, cutting the road toll, and responding to mental health callouts which have now grown to around 33,000 a year.
“Wing 332 continues the strong commitment to increased diversity in Police. There are 11 foreign-born officers in the latest wing, who speak ten foreign languages between them.
“One new officer is the first Afghan-born woman to join New Zealand Police, after arriving here as a seven year old. One is descended from a “Peeler”, or London Police officer from the 19th century, and another has family members in the police in India.
“Forty-two per cent of this wing are women, 15 per cent are Maori, five per cent Pasifika and five per cent Asian. The youngest is 18 and the eldest is 40. They all have great cause to be proud of their achievements today, and we are proud of them,” Mr Nash says.