Police budget remains frozen

The police budget has been frozen for the fifth consecutive year, and the Government had no immediate plan to increase it again before 2018.

Budget 2014 also showed that funding for the Serious Fraud Office has been cut, because many of the prosecutions against finance companies have finished.

New Zealand Police's core operating spending was maintained at $1.46 billion for 2014/15. This was the same amount of funding as in 2009/10.

Treasury forecasts showed that spending on police was not expected to increase before 2017/18.

Police Minister Anne Tolley said some one-off spends in the last year, such as a restructure of the HR and finance departments, were not required this year.

A lower spend on roading police would be maintained in 2014/15.

The Police Association has expressed concern about wages and front-line police hours as a result of the frozen budget.

The minister said increased technology had allowed police to spend more time on the front line.

The use of smartphones and tablets had contributed to 500,000 additional frontline hours - the equivalent of 354 police officers.

"Police and Corrections will continue to target their resources to prevent crime and address the drivers of crime to make our communities safer,'' Mrs Tolley said.

"Both organisations have delivered fantastic results and I am confident that great gains will continue to be made as a result of this smarter approach.''

The Justice Sector Fund, established in last year's Budget, held $109 million in funding which was available for agencies including police, as long as the money went towards the Government's public service targets such as reducing reoffending.

The Serious Fraud Office would have its funding reduced by $2 million to $7.5m.

This followed a "temporary'' boost in funding to investigate and prosecute a number of finance companies such as Hanover, South Canterbury Finance, Bridgecorp and others.

Corrections' budget also remained the same at around $1.2b.

Its funding would continue to focus on increasing drug and alcohol programmes for prisoners.

- by Isaac Davison of the NZ Herald 

2013/14: $1.5b
2014/15: $1.46b
Serious Fraud Office
2013/14: $9.5m
2014/15: $7.4m

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