Ten non-sworn police jobs will be cut in the South, but
Southern district commander Superintendent Bob Burns maintains
changes are designed to get police away from "filling out
endless forms" and on to the front line.
Yesterday police confirmed job support positions would be cut
from Oamaru, Balclutha, Gore and Te Anau.
In addition, six district support positions from Dunedin,
Invercargill and Central Otago will be transferred to
Auckland, to staff the police national 24-hour telephone
That reporting line, already in place for most of the
country, is expected to be rolled out for the Southern
district in June.
Supt Burns said a new Dunedin-based centralised district file
management centre, designed to relieve police of paperwork,
would be created.
At present, files were "all over the place". To counter this,
police were moving from labour-intensive paper files towards
electronically collating data, enabling officers to enter and
update information via phone or computer tablets while on the
front line, he said.
Officers were spending up to two hours "filling out endless
forms" on an arrest in order to get the matter to
"It is a lot of double-handling and it is inefficient."
The changes would help officers focus on prevention and "give
us an opportunity to spend more time out of the station".
"And let's face it, [officers'] biggest gripe is about
paperwork, and the biggest gripe from our community is that
they don't see enough of us ... so it is going to be a
He acknowledged there would be "a bit of pain to get there",
but the focus was delivering a better service for the public.
Staff were given a decision document this week, after three
weeks of consultation.
"Some people are pretty upset, and so they should be. They
have given fantastic service to an organisation and their
community for a long time ... but it is the nature of
The restructuring would reduce Southern district staff from
655 staff to 645. Options for affected staff included
reassignment, redeployment and voluntary severance.
He said there would no longer be a reception staff member at
the North Dunedin station but officers would still be based
there, while South Dunedin station hours would be reduced.
The move to the new structure was expected to be completed by
Supt Burns expected there would be an adjustment period for
police, with job losses and the technological changes.
"I don't think the public will notice any difference, but we
will notice as police officers."
Dunedin North MP David Clark said "the jury was out" in
regard to the announced changes.
"There are some sensible changes going on in the police as
they try to work within tight budgets."
He had been reassured by police there would be a regular
community clinic in North Dunedin for the public to raise