Substantial boost to police staff in budget

Substantial boost to police staff in budget

National News

The 265 staff announced in the budget this afternoon are a welcome addition said Commissioner of Police Rob Robinson.

The boost to police staffing is included in more than $46 million funding in 2005/06 for new initiatives in the operating budget this year.

Mr Robinson said most of the staff will be in front line roles with the bulk going into metropolitan Auckland and the upper North Island.

"This is not ring-fenced funding, it is flexible funding allocated to Police to use in the best way we can determine to ease pressures and maintain service delivery." The deployment of these staff reflects the assessment by the District Commanders of the current pressure points.

A substantial capital investment has also been made of $27 million to cover the funding of new equipment, vehicles and buildings required to support new and existing staff. Major equipment purchases will include stab proof vests for frontline staff, replacement rifles and livescan finger printing.

The new funding will purchase approximately 60 new investigation and response staff, 24 organised crime group members, 36 youth aid and youth support team staff and 15 in a range of roles including liquor licensing, commercial vehicle enforcement, and prosecutions. Funding also includes the additional vehicles required to support these staff.

Up to an additional 100 staff for communications centres were announced last week and are included in the total budget announced this afternoon.

Mr Robinson says the additional funding recognised some of the pressures on police, particularly for districts North of Taupo and will focus on improving service to the public.

"We have flexibility in how we allocate and deploy new staff and this will influence the total numbers we are able to dedicate to any one area or issue.

"This could mean more than the estimated 265 additional staff are eventually able to be provided for as a result of the new budget funding, Mr Robinson said.

The Deputy Commissioner (Operations), Steve Long provided further detail on Police’s allocation of the new Government funding.

Mr Long said that key components of the new funding in the 2005/2006 police budget include:

Communication Centres - $45.5M over 4 years ($10.8M in 2005/06)
Funding for up to 100 additional staff, with a mixture of sworn and non-sworn to improve service to the public through Communications Centres. This funding will address: demand and service delivery, governance, new technology, training and supervision.

Investigation, Response and Organised Crime - $41.3M over 4 years ($9.4M in 2005/06)
Mr Long says 60 new sworn investigative and response staff will go into upper north island districts. Forty-eight will go into Metropolitan Auckland, two into Northland and five each into Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.

Detailed planning at the district level will determine final distribution but emphasis will be placed on maximum front line service delivery. The allocation of the 48 staff in Auckland will be undertaken by the Board of Management which includes commanders from the three metropolitan districts, the Auckland Metropolitan Crime and Operations Support Group and the Northern Communications Centre.

Recognising the harm to society from organised criminals trading in drugs such as methamphetamine and other violent crime around 20 sworn staff and four non-sworn will focus on organised crime.

Twelve staff will be based in metropolitan Auckland. The proceeds of organised crime are concentrated among a relatively small number of criminal gangs. These additional investigators will boost our enforcement efforts and assist applying new powers to seize the proceeds of their crime.

Three organised crime teams of four staff will also be housed in the Bay of Plenty, Eastern and Canterbury Districts to ensure the provision of services throughout their regions.

Youth Initiatives - $11.6M over 4 years ($2.7M in 2005/06)
Around 20 sworn and four non-sworn staff, including constables and NCOs will increase Police's general capability for working with young people. This funding builds on youth investment over the last six years.

An additional six, two person youth development teams will deliver specific Youth Development programmes focussing on youth at risk of offending. Deployment of the new teams will take into account the spread of the 29 existing youth programmes.

Early planning indicates the probable sites for these new programmes will be Northland, Metropolitan Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Eastern, Wellington and Tasman Districts.

Overseas Deployments - $14.8M over 4 years ($7.5M in 2005/06)
Funding will allow the continued deployment of around 35 officers to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) for the next two years.

This funding ensures the effect on domestic policing services of this offshore deployment is minimised by the backfilling of these positions.

Police Rifle Replacement - $3.0M
• Replacement of the current Remington rifles with a new firearm – the Bushmaster.

• Funding includes provision for training and deployment costs and the withdrawal and destruction of the old weapons

Stab Resistant Body Armour (commercially sensitive)
Operational trials are currently underway to determine the best stab resistant body armour to meet New Zealand Police needs and conditions. That trial will finish later in the year so that purchase and deployment of the armour should occur within the 2005/06 financial year.

Livescan finger printing (commercially sensitive)
A tender will soon be let for the provision of livescan finger printing technology across 44 sites. This will speed up the collection and entering of fingerprints in the watchhouse and be progressively rolled out from 1 July.

Other Minor Initiatives - $32.1M over 4 years ($9.5M in 2005/06)
Initiatives included here include: $M $M
4 years 2005/06
• Prosecutor support for additional District Court Judges 2.5 0.7
• United Nations Drug Control Programme 0.4 0.1
• Enhanced Heavy Vehicle Inspections 2.5 0.6
• Continuation of 2004/05 funding for 12 driver training,
18 Comms Centre and 9 Prosecutions staff 14.4 3.6
• Police impact of Coroners Act Review 3.2 0.8
• Family Safety Teams 5.9 1.3
• Remand Prisoner costs 2.1 2.1
• Liquor licensing capability 1.9 0.5
• Transfer of Pathology costs (0.8) (0.2)
32.1 9.5

General Funding boosts - $27.4M over 4 years ($6.9M in 2005/06)
This additional funding will enable current activities to be fully delivered. The funding includes additional allocation for more forensic spending which has proved successful in fighting crime. Funding will also help maintain the focus on keeping police properties up to an acceptable standard, meeting increased fuel and electricity costs.

In summary

Deputy Commissioner Long said the Police Executive were unanimous in their support for the allocation of most of the new resources to meet demand pressures in the upper North Island.

"Nevertheless, every Police district receives some additional resource under this budget in that all districts receive some new staff, albeit in modest numbers south of Taupo."

Mr Long said that Police had got around 95% of what they had bid for in the Budget and that the additional 250 – 300 staff would tax both the recruitment and training parts of the organisation.

"We need to train about 450 sworn staff a year to account for natural attrition. Training a further 150 plus sworn staff on top of the 450 would mean the College would be humming during the year ahead."

The Deputy Commissioner said that Police were interested in the 10 year funding approach adopted by the Government for the armed forces.

"We’ll be raising the possibility of moving from a rolling three year appropriation cycle for Police towards a longer term approach that might better serve our longer term planning.

"Meanwhile Police are very pleased with the injection of additional resources by the Government and will move as swiftly as possible to maximise the improvements in service delivery we anticipate," said Mr Long.

ENDS

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