Police turnover rate defended; push to recruit women

One in five police officers who joined in 2009 have left, just as police launch a major campaign aimed at attracting female recruits.

Figures released under the Official Information Act reveal of the 392 officers who graduated in 2009, 312 were still with police - a retention rate of 79.5%.

A police spokesman said the figures reflected ''a healthy level of turnover, which is vital for the future health of the police workforce, and continues to remain significantly below that of other state sector employers''.

Of the 1580 officers graduating from 2009-13, 402 were women.

Figures released to the Otago Daily Times show only 85 female officers graduated during 2013, compared with 206 men.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush yesterday announced a new drive to recruit more women.

''Recruiting women and developing leaders throughout the organisation is a priority for NZ Police so that the organisation can better reflect the community it serves.''

Two other initiatives were also announced - a new reality television show on female officers called Women in Blue, and a new advisory network for the recruitment and development of female officers.

''We're looking for new young leaders with communication skills, empathy and problem-solving abilities.

These skills are crucial to prevent crime and victimisation in our communities,'' he said.

Women make up nearly 20% of 8845 constabulary staff.

Of that 2013 intake, 148 officers were Pakeha, followed by Maori (36), Pacific (23) and Asian (16).

Between 2009 and 2013, 72 newly graduated officers were posted to the Southern District, compared with 410 officers deployed to Counties Manukau and 210 to Auckland.

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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