The public's interaction with the police is changing - and
not for the better, Labour police spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern
Yesterday, the list MP was in Dunedin, where she raised
concerns about police changes, including budget cuts, reduced
staff numbers and community anxiety about reporting crime.
''I am not willing to blame police for the fact that this is
occurring. It is a police force that is being forced to do
more with less,'' she said.
Southern district had gone from 565 to 547 police officers
over a year, with non-sworn staff reduced from 84 to 66 over
the same period - ''this has to have had an impact.''
She was concerned communities - citing Mosgiel as an example
- were noting their police stations were opening at reduced
hours, with staff not always available after hours.
''So instead of being able to go to their local police, they
will be diverted to a central call centre.''
Miss Ardern recommended a ''happy medium'', which included
some centralisation to free up frontline staff, but included
giving communities more opportunity to talk in person to
Despite crime rates falling, she was concerned with the low
rate of burglary resolutions nationally, while in the
Southern district homicides and sexual assaults were up