More cops a much needed step

A commitment from the Government for more police for rural and provincial New Zealand will help alleviate pressures small communities have been facing from a shortage of police staff.

Prime Minister Bill English has announced a $503 million package over four years that will see 880 more sworn police on the streets, with a target on both provincial and rural New Zealand, and vulnerable children.

Local Government New Zealand President Lawrence Yule says many areas have initiated community patrols and local councils have committed spending to CCTV and security guards in an effort to fill the gaps left by having fewer cops.

At 2016’s LGNZ AGM a remit was passed calling for the Government to increase police resourcing to ensure adequate staffing and coverage for New Zealand communities, and that police chiefs are not forced to compromise community policing because of budget constraints.

“We are pleased this has now been acted on and that our communities can expect to see a greater police presence,” Mr Yule says.

“The value of community policing has been underestimated.  We need that local knowledge and connection that comes from community policing. Communities need to feel safe to thrive so this is a good step towards improving public safety.”

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