Police plan vetting charges

Mike Webb.
Mike Webb.
Police are considering charging for some services which are now free. Police yesterday released the public consultation paper ''Cost Recovery for Certain Police Services'', which asks for public feedback on charging for vetting services.

Most services were offered free of charge, the costs covered by general taxation, but cost recovery could be appropriate for some services, police strategy, policy and performance acting general manager Mike Webb said.

While police were not able at present to recover costs under the Policing Act (2008), vetting services were identified as a potential revenue earners. The police vetting service allowed approved organisations to request all information police held on a specific individual.

High users of the service included the Department of Internal Affairs, Immigration New Zealand, New Zealand Transport Agency, Community Services, CYF, New Zealand Teachers Council and the Ministry of Education.

Commercial organisations included recruitment companies, retirement homes, health groups, kindergartens and playcentres.

While some exemptions would be considered, police proposed a fee of $5-$7 per vetting request for a standard vetting request, and an estimated $10-$14 for an urgent request. Of a projected 435,000 vetting requests per annum, police said an estimated 350,000 could be charged.

New Zealand was one of the few modern police forces that did not have a cost recovery in place, with United Kingdom, Canada and Australia all successfully implementing cost recovery, Mr Webb said.

Labour Party police spokesman Kris Faafoi questioned why the proposal had been raised.

''Undoubtedly, it's because the National Government has put our police force under enormous financial pressure and police top brass are now being forced to look for cuts and revenue gathering opportunities right across the board."

The public have until March 5 to make a submission on the proposals, with a recommendation then to go to the Government.


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