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The new southern staff are among 1800 officers added across the country by Police Commissioner Mike Bush, in a move funded through a $298.8 million increase in this year's Budget.
District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham this afternoon welcomed the extra numbers allocated to the Southern District.
“The extra staff will allow us to introduce innovative new approaches to impact on crime, while also strengthening our existing Police networks across urban, regional and provincial locations,” Superintendent Basham said.
“This will be focused on creating an environment for all communities in Southern where people are not only safe, but feel safe.”
In addition to increasing frontline officers to prevent and respond to crime and calls for service, Southern will establish a new Precision Targeting Team that will focus on priority and prolific offenders to reduce crime such as burglary, robbery and alcohol related crime.
The allocation also includes the introduction of a Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce in order to combat and prevent gang-related crime such as methamphetamine supply, violence and intimidation, and other serious offending.
“While our deployment of these officers will be prioritised on the current and future needs of our diverse communities, we will also be focused on building enhanced prevention initiatives, improving deployment capabilities and, ultimately, creating a more responsive community-focused Police service.”
Commissioner Bush said the move would help police increase visibility and presence across the country.
"Today's allocation will significantly build our frontline capability, and lift the level of policing services we deliver to both our urban and regional communities," Bush said.
"This will result in more crime prevention activity and improve police's ability to respond, investigate and resolve crime – including a focus on reducing reoffending.
"The new staff will also support our effort to reduce death and injury on our roads."
Bush says 1280 of the new staff will be deployed to districts, including 200 staff with a specific focus on preventing crime related to gangs and drug-related offending.
A big part of the package is the "unprecedented investment to combat the harm" caused by organised crime, gangs and the supply of methamphetamine.
Bush said the allocation decisions have taken into account feedback from frontline staff, projected population growth, changing crime patterns, and other priority areas.
"Of course, police work in a dynamic and changing environment, and if the facts on the ground materially change, then we would look at where our resources are required to keep people safe," he added.
District commanders are now starting further work to determine deployment decisions at an area and station level.
"Our communities will benefit greatly through this investment as our staff work to prevent crime, victimisation and help vulnerable people turn their lives around," Bush said.
"There are currently 340 recruits training at The Royal New Zealand Police College, with 80 more starting every four weeks. We have record numbers of applications, but we are still keen to hear from quality applicants."
- reporting NZME/ODT Online