Minister in denial over Police budget cuts

The Government needs to urgently address cuts to the Police budget and push resources back into frontline community policing, the Green Party said today.

In last month’s Budget, the allocation for Vote Police dropped by one percent from 1.624 billion to 1.609 billion according to the New Zealand Police Association. Police spending peaked in 2010 and has been falling since, down 5.7 percent to 2015 and 11.5 percent out to 2018 in real terms.

The Government needs to urgently address cuts to the Police budget and push resources back into frontline community policing, the Green Party said today.

In last month’s Budget, the allocation for Vote Police dropped by one percent from 1.624 billion to 1.609 billion according to the New Zealand Police Association. Police spending peaked in 2010 and has been falling since, down 5.7 percent to 2015 and 11.5 percent out to 2018 in real terms.

“Cuts to the Police budget put the public at risk and could lead to serious service failures,” Green Party police spokesperson David Clendon said today at the Law and Order Select Committee’s scrutiny of the Police budget.

“The Minister of Police, Michael Woodhouse, is in complete denial of the level of public concern.

“It is astonishing that the concerns of the Police Association regarding service failure can be dismissed as a negotiating tactic.

“The Minister is being wilfully negligent when he ignores data from Research New Zealand that indicates a drop in the level of public trust and confidence in Police from 84 percent in 2013 to 75 percent in 2015.

“This fall in confidence is almost certainly a result of Police budgets being reduced in real terms ever since this government came to power, compromising their ability to meet public expectations.

“The spending cuts mean less and less police out on the beat keeping our communities safe with proactive policing.

“Police budget cuts in real terms means the loss of more community constables and the valuable crime prevention work they do.

“Budget cuts also mean the Police’s ability to respond to burglaries and property crimes will be compromised. 

“Declining levels of service could ironically assist crime figures as a disillusioned public stop reporting break-ins and burglaries.

“Crimes will go unreported if people believe the Police will not respond to them in a timely way.

“It is time for the Government to consider a thaw on its frozen Police budget and tackle crime from the community level up,” Mr Clendon said.

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