Retail crime unit a good move, but where are the police we were promised?

Today’s announcement that Police will establish a dedicated unit to tackling increasing retail crime is a good move, but the Government also needs to deliver on its 2017 promise of 1800 more officers, says National’s Police spokesman Simeon Brown.

“Retail NZ has been concerned about the increasing rate of retail crime and it is good to see  Police are finally hearing these concerns and taking action.

“While this new unit will play an important role in supporting and advising retailers dealing with increased violence and aggression, the Government has failed to deliver on its promises of adding 1800 new officers over three years, meaning Police are, as the Police Commissioner has admitted, ‘thinly spread’.

“The Government’s lack of delivery on the 1800 new officers is hindering the Police’s ability to be effective in the community and to keep the public safe.

“Police resources are also significantly strained in Auckland, with 240 officers guarding MIQ facilities and more than 300 officers dedicated to enforcing the Auckland Covid border.

“This is putting enormous pressure on Police, which is unable to respond to the real concerns raised by Retail NZ members.

“More support for retailers facing increased violence is good news, but the Government needs to also complete the recruitment of the 1800 new police, set a date for opening Auckland up and ending MIQ so that these officers can get back to their job of preventing crime and holding offenders to account.”