Wellington, May 27, 2022
The government has announced a major package of law and order measures that further increases Police numbers, addresses gang violence and extends successful rehabilitation programmes to break the cycle of offending and entering a life of crime.
The joined-up package was announced by Justice Minister Kris Faafoi, Police Minister Poto Williams and Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis.
“Our investment in law and order has made a difference. Since we took office, we have 1411 more Police on the frontline – the highest number in our history, youth crime has decreased and there are 3,083 fewer people in our prisons. But there is more to do,” Mr Faafoi said.
Keeping communities safe
“In recent years we have seen increases in gun crime, gang activity and even more recently some forms of youth offending that puts both our communities and our Police at risk and we must address that. Our response needs to address the root causes of crime, especially when it relates to young people, provide more rehabilitation to reduce reoffending, and actively pursue and prosecute those who participate in illegal gang activity,” he said.
“This Budget builds on our investment in record Police numbers, tackling gun crime and violent offenders and reducing reoffending, all of which help to keep New Zealand communities safe,” Ms Williams said.
The government is investing over $562 million over four years into Police so that they continue to have the resources they need to keep our communities safe. This is in addition to our already-record investment in Police.
“Our priority is increasing the number of Police on the frontline. When we took office, turning around declining Police numbers was our priority. Once we achieve our goal of an extra 1800 Police officers later this year we will ensure numbers do not fall away again by maintaining an ongoing ratio of one Police officer to every 480 New Zealanders. Under National, we saw Police numbers fall away as new officers were not hired when Police retired. And when we came into office that ratio was standing at one Police officer for every 548 Kiwis, Ms Williams said.
“In this budget, we are investing $94 million into tackling gangs and organised crime with strong enforcement being essential whilst at the same time working with communities to address the social factors that lead to people joining gangs in the first place. This will have a strong focus on enforcing the law while also preventing the harm caused by gangs and organised crime. This approach is in addition to Operations Tauwhiro and Cobalt which work to break supply chains by seizing illicit assets and proceeds of crime and by disrupting firearms trafficking and violence.
“We know Police are increasingly subject to gun violence. The package includes an extra $164.6 million in operating and $20.7 million in capital funding over four years to expand the highly successful Tactical Response Model which ensures Police are trained, equipped and supported to keep themselves and the communities they serve safer,” she said.
This includes funding for dog units so they have an AOS trained officer with them and more training venues where Police will receive improved tactical response skills.
Reducing gun violence
“The government is committed to tackling increasing gun violence. Key to that was banning semi-automatic weapons and passing legislation that ensures it is a privilege not a right to own a gun and restrict access to those who use them safely. Funding of $208 million over four years will establish a new Firearms Business Unit within Police. The Unit will have oversight of implementing the significant and ongoing Arms Act legislative changes which overseas examples tell us are central to reducing gun crime over time,” Ms Williams said.
“Larger prison populations are not a sign of success; they are a mark of failure. The majority of offenders have previously been in jail so if we want less crime, we must have less reoffending,” Mr Davis said.
Source: Beehive, Wellington