INDEPENDENT NEWS

Police Budget Stretched Beyond The Limit

Published: Wed 22 Nov 2000 04:57 PM
News today about the Police Minister's plans to trim the 'fat' from the police force indicates a serious budget crisis in the police, National Police spokesperson Brian Neeson said today.
"One of Mr Hawkins' bright ideas for cost cutting is that police should pay for the privilege of being trained to be police. Mr Hawkins has compared police recruits to students training to be doctors or dentists. The police force is a service that is more comparable to the armed forces than to these professions. Is he saying that army recruits should also pay for the privilege of their training?
"In regions throughout New Zealand we are hearing about the cancellation of police training, a halt in DNA testing, a shortage of police cars and small stations being short-staffed.
"The Minister wants to review whether we have more police employed than we need at any one time. New Zealanders in regions like Waitakere, Auckland City, Waikato and Wellington will be horrified at the idea of having fewer police on the beat. They are already short-staffed, thanks in part to the Minister pulling them into his new highway patrol.
"While denying there is a cash crisis in the police, Mr Hawkins has admitted that he has been asked for more money. How bad does it have to get before the Minister actually listens to the police and does something about it?
"Police are feeling the pinch and it is affecting morale. The thin blue line will become even thinner under this Government.
"Mr Hawkins is running down our police force. We have made good progress in the last few years in the fight against crime. If Mr Hawkins has his way, the crime rate can only increase," Mr Neeson said.
Ends

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