National pledges 300 more frontline police

National Party leader Christopher Luxon Photo: RNZ
National Party leader Christopher Luxon Photo: RNZ
Citing an escalation in crime in CBD areas, the National Party has announced it would increase the number of frontline police officers focused on inner-city crime prevention and enforcement, if elected.

"Since Labour took office, violent crime is up 33 percent, serious assaults have more than doubled and gang membership is up 70 percent. This year there has been close to two ram raids a day, on average," National police spokesperson Mark Mitchell said.

He said crime was high in downtown and CBD areas including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton.

"Much of this increased crime is concentrated in what were once relatively safe inner-city areas, where shop owners and members of the public are expressing concern about a lack of visible police presence on the streets.

"That's why National will deliver an extra 300 frontline constables over the next four years, to increase the physical presence of beat officers in CBD areas in major cities dealing with a significant spike in criminal activity.

"The allocation of these 300 extra police officers, costing $124 million over four years, will be determined by district police commanders, but National will set out clear expectations that this added resource is directed to the frontlines in central city locations."

He said Labour's "soft-on-crime approach" had left the police force "increasingly stretched".

"Only National has the policies to get tough on gangs, to ensure there are consequences for youth offenders, including boot camps, and to ensure sentences better reflect offending and that prisoners have more rehabilitation."

Mitchell said National would also scrap Labour's "policing by consent philosophy which has been a failure and encourage a back-to-basics policing model" which focused on officers building relationships with the community and deterring anti-social behaviour and street violence.

"We have seen far too many scenes of youths ram-raiding businesses, violent aggravated robberies, assaults occurring in broad daylight, and gangs discharging firearms near innocent bystanders.

"National has always been the party of law and order and if we win this year's election, offenders will certainly know there has been a change of government."