Failing to deliver on promised police officers

Documents released to National show that Police decided to place 160 new police officers in MIQ facilities ignoring requests from leadership within Police to place them in Serious and Organised Crime roles, National’s spokesperson for Police Simeon Brown says.

“The Government promised New Zealanders they would fill 700 positions dedicated to organised crime and gangs but so far have only recruited 242 of those positions. Dealing with gangs and organised crime is clearly not a priority for this Government.

“Police had the opportunity last year to fill more of these positions but prioritised placing these new police officers at MIQ facilities. In the meantime gang membership and violence have continued to worsen.

“I question the need for such a police presence at MIQ. Inevitably issues crop up requiring police, but is a constant police presence the best use of our limited resources? We don’t have the luxury of spare police officers that can be effectively employed as security guards when gang numbers have doubled.

“When will Minister of Police Poto Williams get moving on a proper plan to ensure the Organised Crime Taskforce is adequately staffed and resourced? Standing up at Question Time in Parliament with no answers week after week is not good enough.

“If this, as the OIA documents suggest, is a matter of cost cutting because employing more officers in specialised roles is more expensive, the Minister needs to front up and explain her reasons for not prioritising spending on addressing rising violent crime and gangs.”