A milestone in Police recruitment has been achieved with the deployment of more than 1,000 new constables around the country since the government was formed.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Police Minister Stuart Nash congratulated graduates of Wing 321 at a ceremony at the Royal New Zealand Police College. The 80 recruits have officially completed training and been sworn in as constables. They will be deployed across all districts and commence duties on Christmas Eve, 24 December.
“The presence of police in our neighbourhoods and towns is one of the most powerful ways to deter crime and build safer communities,” says Mr Peters. “Today’s graduation means 1,022 new frontline officers have graduated and been deployed across all regions since the government was formed.”
“The Coalition Agreement between New Zealand First and Labour strives to increase Police numbers by 1800 extra officers. We are making good progress. The deployment of the new constables is much-needed, especially in our provincial communities outside our largest city.
“Auckland has attracted 41 per cent of the new officers and others have been deployed the length and breadth of the country. For example Northland has 54 new officers, Waikato has 88, Central District has 74, there are 75 new constables in Bay of Plenty, Canterbury has 81, and Southern has 60 new officers. These previously neglected regions were crying out for more Police,” Mr Peters says.
“Now that recruitment and training has stepped up following increased investment, a new recruit wing is graduating every month,” Mr Nash says. The net gain, accounting for attrition in the current workforce, is 483 extra frontline officers since the beginning of the 2017/18 financial year. We are more than a quarter of the way towards our goal of 1800 extra police.
“A new recruit wing graduates every month. In addition there will be 485 extra support staff. Policing is increasingly seen as a worthwhile career option. There is growing diversity in Police ranks too. One third of the new officers are women. Today’s graduation also means the number of fulltime-equivalent female Police officers has passed the 2,000 mark.
“One of the Government’s top three priorities is to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders. We are building safer and more connected communities. There has been a significant drop in the number of people who have been victims of crime during 2018.
“Today’s graduates will be out on the streets and holiday spots over summer. They bring diverse skills and experience to their role in keeping communities safe and preventing crime. They range in age from 19 to 52 and many have a strong tradition of volunteering in their communities such as surf lifesavers, firefighters, search and rescue work, sports coaching and mentoring young people. There are 17 born outside New Zealand and they share at least nine foreign languages between them.
“These new officers will help us to meet our goals of reducing victimisation and bringing down offending and imprisonment rates. I also thank the wing patron, Crown Solicitor Brian Dickey, for the support, mentoring and advice he offered during the 16-week training,” Mr Nash says.