Twenty new Police officers have today made history at the first graduation ceremony of recruits in Auckland for more than 40 years.
Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of Section 5 of Wing 314 marks a generational shift in the recruitment, training and deployment of new constables. “We have to turn back the clock to 1973-74 for the last time Police were trained in Auckland,” Mr Nash says.
“It was an era when Britain had just joined the EEC, the domestic purposes benefit and equal pay for women in the private sector had just been introduced, a Labour leader sent a navy frigate to protest French nuclear testing, and colour TV was first broadcast.
“The Police recruits of the early 1970s were trained at a former teachers college at Ardmore in South Auckland. The Auckland wing was a response to requests from the Mayor Sir Dove Myer Robinson who was concerned at rising crime, much of it gang-related, in our biggest city.
“Today’s recruits were trained over 19 weeks at Unitech classrooms and at specialist Police facilities such as a firearms range and a driving centre. The twenty constables are also the first to train in a non-residential setting. Recruits traditionally attend the 16-week residential course at the Royal New Zealand Police College near Porirua.
“We have listened to feedback from aspiring Police officers who say it’s hard on families to leave home for months of training, especially if they have young children. We don’t want to put unnecessary barriers in the way of new recruits. I hope the Auckland course will set a precedent for others in the near future.
“All recruits graduating today will be deployed across Auckland. The changing demographics of Auckland compared to 1974 are also evident in the diversity of the new constables. Thirty per cent identify as Asian New Zealanders. Seven were born overseas and speak languages including Italian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese. The youngest is 19 and the oldest is 38. There are former sporting reps from the White Ferns and the Wellington Firebirds and a volunteer firefighter and a surf lifesaver.
“Today’s graduation means 688 new frontline officers have been deployed since the government took office. We are making good progress towards our objective of 1800 new frontline officers and 485 new support staff. Community safety and crime prevention will be the focus of these extra police resources,” Mr Nash says.