13 Oct 2016

Labour pledges to beef up police numbers

6:54 pm on 13 October 2016

The Labour Party has pledged to increase police numbers by 1000 during its first term, if elected to government.

A police officer outside a cordon in South Auckland.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

It said the policy would cost an additional $180 million a year.

Labour Party leader Andrew Little said police were currently stretched far too thinly to stop most criminal activities, because the government had not given them the funds to do the job properly.

Official figures showed the number of burglaries went up by about 15 percent to more than 71,000 cases in the year to August.

Assaults rose by 8.5 percent to nearly 50,000 cases.

Mr Little said Labour would increase the total number of police officers to 10,000, which would bring the ratio from one officer for every 526 New Zealanders to 1 in 500.

"It includes roughly 300 non-sworn staff in that total package, and it obviously includes the ability to accommodate those extra police around the police stations around New Zealand."

The government has also signalled it would boost police numbers, but has not released any details on when that may happen, or by how many.

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