Frontline police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown.
“Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” says Police Minister Stuart Nash.
“We need these new officers now, more than ever.”
“The new constables and training staff took special precautions to stay safe. Twenty new officers in Auckland and 59 in Wellington took their oaths in small groups without the usual presence of families and guests, to observe the limit on mass gatherings.
“The graduations take the number of fulltime Police to 10,032 officers. It’s an increase of almost 1,200 officers, or 13.5 per cent, on the number of fulltime police at the start of the 2017/18 financial year.
“I am especially grateful to the patron of Wing 336 which graduated this week. Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the Director General of Health is a highly respected leader who has been a mentor to the recruits during their training.
“The ratio of Police officers to the population has dramatically improved and enables a stronger focus on crime prevention and community safety. There is now one Police officer for every 496 people, compared to one officer for every 541 people at the start of the 2017/18 year.
“For the next four weeks police have one overwhelming priority: to prevent crime and keep people and property safe during the COVID19 shutdown. Many in the community feel anxious and unsettled. However we are united against COVID19.
“Police will primarily seek to educate people and encourage everyone to be calm, be kind, and stay at home. They will escalate their response if required and have a full range of powers from issuing warnings to making arrests and prosecuting.”
For non-emergencies, people should dial the new 105 number, and in life-threatening circumstances where people are at immediate risk, they should dial 111. Anonymous calls can be made to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
“The best source of information remains the COVID19.govt.nz website or freephone numbers 0800 779 997 or 0800 22 66 57,” says Stuart.