Police budget being slashed: Labour

Front-line police officers are going to be put under immense pressure a result of this year's Budget, which will slash police funding by around $120 million, the Labour Party says.

In a press release last week, Commissioner Peter Marshall said the police budget would not be cut, although the organisation planned to lose about 125 non-sworn staff.

"I want to stress that there is no intended reduction in the constabular headcount and front-line service delivery will not only continue to be maintained but will be enhanced,'' he said.

"We are making a number of other organisational changes involving some centralisation of file management, HR and finance functions. These are all intended to help the front-line do its job.''

However, Labour's police spokesman Kris Faafoi said today that a zero increase in the Budget for police meant the organisation would be forced to fund inflationary cost rises, a wage round negotiation, and competency service increments (CSI).

"That is going to put immense pressure on the delivery of front-line services." he said.

At the Law and Order Select Committee's financial review of police earlier this year, police bosses had projected CSI increases would cost $42.5 million a year for the next four years, and a 3 per cent wage increase would cost around $75 million a year.

"That means police are being forced to find savings of around $120 million per annum.''

Mr Faafoi called on Police Minister Anne Tolley to be honest about the effect this year's Budget would have on police at the front line.

"Essentially the minister is fooling nobody - this is a budget cut,'' he said.

"Front-line officers are worried. They are telling me they are stretched, and resourcing is becoming an issue.''

The cuts come in response to the ordering of police cost managers to make savings of 3 per cent in operations and 4 per cent in non-sworn staff costs.


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