Seventy-eight new Police constables are heading out to the regions following today’s graduation of a new recruit wing from the Royal New Zealand Police College.
Police Minister Stuart Nash says the record high number of new Police officers being recruited, trained and deployed means a new recruit wing is graduating every month.
“In the new era of a heightened threat level we need these new frontline officers as we step up our efforts to keep communities safe and prevent crime,” Mr Nash says.
“Today’s graduation means 1446 new frontline officers have been deployed since the coalition government took office. A further 240 are currently training in other recruit wings in Wellington and Auckland.
“The extra resources help Police expand their work with the most vulnerable in our communities, in line with the coalition government’s wellbeing focus.
“Police are working tirelessly to keep our communities safe. The new officers who graduate today from Wing 327 begin work on 15 July, just as community collections get underway during the firearms buy-back and amnesty.
“In Budget 2019 we invested $168 million to take the most dangerous weapons out of circulation. ACC has also stepped up with a further $40 million dollars for the buy-back, in recognition of the human cost of firearms-related injuries and deaths.
“Today’s new constables will also help tackle organised crime, gangs, and drugs. These are priorities and Police are making inroads as they work to reduce harm from methamphetamine and other drugs.
“Police are also increasingly responding to mental health needs. They were involved in almost 33,000 mental health calls in the year to April, an increase of eleven per cent on the previous year. The Budget increased support for frontline mental health services by $455 million.
“There is great diversity in the constables who graduate today. Female constables make up 36 per cent of the recruits, 19 per cent are Maori and eight per cent are Pasifika. The youngest is 19 years old and the oldest is 41.
“There is once again a strong tradition of community service and volunteering amongst our new constables. Many are accomplished in sports and cultural fields, including a US-born constable who made a living as a professional skateboarder as a teenager.
“I also want to thank the wing patron, Dr Lance O’Sullivan, who was a great mentor to the new constables and shared advice and encouragement during their four month training course,” Mr Nash says.