The Coalition Government is putting politics ahead of public safety by lowering police training standards in a desperate attempt to meet its target of 1800 new police officers, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“New Zealanders have the right to expect that every police officer on the beat is able to protect them from harm. That means we must have the highest standards of training for those wanting to become police officers.

“It can be a dangerous job and police officers need to be capable of not only keeping the public safe, but of protecting themselves and their colleagues in high-risk situations.

“It was concerning today to hear the Police Commissioner indicate that training standards are being significantly lowered.

"Police applicants were previously required to meet the minimum criteria for each activity in the physical appraisal test. Now, if they’re weak in one area of the test, they can make up for it in other areas.

“It is also no longer a requirement for police applicants to have a swimming certificate so people who are completely unable to swim can now be accepted into Police College.

“I think the public and current police officers will be rightly concerned to hear about the softening of these training standards. There was a good reason why the physical tests and standards were so tough – we needs cops to be fit, strong, fast and able swimmers.

“It’s clear the Government is worried about not being able to meet its target of 1800 extra police officers, but making it too easy for people to become cops cannot be the answer.”

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