Labour cut police budget as gang membership soars

The Government has cut the Police Budget by approximately $90 million despite record growth in gang membership, National’s Police spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“This Broken Compass Budget has nothing in it for law and order even though Kiwis are expressing feeling much less safe in their communities and gun crime is on the rise.

“Gang membership has increased 50 per cent to a new record of 8003 gang members nationally, serious assaults have doubled in the past three years, and there has been significant increases in Police call outs for family harm incidents and mental health.

“The Government’s much heralded ‘1800 new police over three years’ programme is also on the Labour Party scrap heap of broken promises with Police Training College remaining empty for most of this year so far.”

“The Government is exposing just how out of touch they are with the New Zealand public in light of a recently published Research NZ crime and safety survey in which nearly half of the respondents said that gang presence is to blame for them feeling unsafe.

“Given the increasing amount of violence evident throughout our communities, New Zealanders are entitled to be fearful when they encounter patched members of organised crime groups.

“The Government needs to get its head out of the sand and stop treating gangs like misunderstood kids. No matter how much PR gangs do they cannot escape the fact that they exist to commit crime in an organised manner.

“As our leader Judith Collins says, ‘National does not make friends with gang members’. National are the party of law and order and Labour’s neglect of police in the budget is atrocious.”

Mr Brown is concerned that if Police Minister Poto Williams and the Labour Government continue to refuse to take rising crime and gang violence seriously, New Zealand will become a haven for those looking to profit from crime.