Another 1125 police staff, including 880 sworn police officers, will be funded over the next four years to reduce crime and prevent reoffending, Prime Minister Bill English announced today.

“New Zealand is the fourth-safest country in the world, but demand for traditional police services is growing, and complex and serious crime is absorbing more police time.

“The Safer Communities package announced today will enable police to put more time, effort and resources into working alongside other agencies with at-risk individuals and communities.”

The $503 million package has three components: targeting and catching offenders, preventing crime and victimisation, and delivering a more responsive service. It also includes extra funding for the wider justice sector.

“Evidence tells us that if we want to reduce offending we need to address the underlying drivers of dysfunction rather than just respond to the symptoms,” Mr English says.

“This package shows that we are prepared to invest up front in programmes that deliver results.”

The package will increase total police staff numbers to more than 13,000 from 11,925 by June 2021 and total sworn police numbers to nearly 9800 from about 8900.

The first recruits will begin training in July and hit the beat in November.

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