The Coalition Government needs to come clean about exactly what powers will be given to volunteer cops, National Party Police Spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“The Labour-NZ First coalition agreement includes a pledge to investigate a ‘volunteer rural constabulary’. Without any detail, it sounds a bit like a rural militia.

“Volunteers play a vital role with police in communities across the country – for example, community patrollers and people who monitor CCTV cameras all help to make us safer. But there’s a big difference between these volunteers and rural militia who potentially have the power to arrest and/or detain.

“This just looks like a dangerous and backdoor way for the Government to desperately meet its target of 1800 new sworn police.

“How will the Government ensure that the right checks and balances are in place to stop these potential cowboy cops from overstepping the mark?

“And what training will they get? It’s difficult to see how they’ll pay for any training for volunteer cops when they haven’t even costed the recruitment and training of their promised 1800 sworn cops.

“It seems the Government is determined to make as much of a mess of the police portfolio as it possibly can – this is just one of a number of ill-thought-out policies, and it’s one that could actually put people at risk.

“New Zealanders have a right to be concerned. The sooner the Government provides some detail and assurance about this policy, the better.”

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