Duncan Garner: More cops? It's about bloody time Bill

police Bill English

OPINION: The public has been screaming out for extra police officers for more than a year now.

And it's true National was too damn slow in keeping up with the rapid increases in population.

Last year it got caught out on police numbers.

So today it's tried to put that right by announcing 1125 extra police staff including 880 extra sworn officers. 

This should surprise no one.

Having more police won't simply reduce crime - but voters expect police on the beat, and they expect them to turn up to crimes.

This will give voters more confidence, perhaps.

This also provides the crucial meat on the bones of this ad-hoc policy to turn up to every domestic burglary.

Is it happening? I'm told, no.

So some will want to jump up and down and congratulate the Government over this decision - but I say they had no other option. 

Around 140 of these new police officers will be assigned to 20 regional and rural stations. 

Country folk have felt left behind on police numbers and that signal was crucial. Many people in outlying areas have felt vulnerable.

Perhaps these officers will return to where they were stripped from in the first place?

And congratulations must also go to NZ First and Labour for keeping the pressure on National over police numbers.

This announcement may have come last year. 

It probably should have given the massive and record increases to our population. 

We are growing faster than any other OECD nation.

For Mr English, this also shows the power of incumbency. Don't underestimate that.

National has the platform and the purse strings and they will loosen them to win a fourth term.

Watch the lolly-scramble from here. Mr English has money in the kitty and that hasn't happened by accident. It's by design.

In contrast, while I thought Labour and the Greens' joint State of the Nation was polished, it offered nothing in the way of new direction or policy.

So today's announcement was well overdue. 

Indeed, the country banked it a long time ago after Judith Collins and John Key both signalled more police as early as August last year.

English will grab a positive headline today - but it wouldn't be unfair if it read; 'More cops? About bloody time, Bill.'

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show on TV3, Radio LIVE and online from February 13.

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