An urgent increase in the number of police in Northland is needed, the New Zealand Police Association (NZPA) says.
NZPA President Chris Cahill says the region's officers are struggling with long hours, high stress situations and chronic staff shortages.
"Northland's just had one hell of a year crimewise. They've had a lot of homicides; they've got a lot of socio-economic issues that have added to their crime rate," he says.
"You couple that with the limited number of staff they've got and the big distances that staff have to travel, and that's a put a hell of a lot of stress right across that district."
The latest issue of NZPA's magazine, Police News, describes how there is simply no back-up if police staff are sick.
Mr Cahill says a major recruitment drive in Northland would help the situation.
He says the Government would do well to remember that next year is election year.
"National know that law and order is going to be a big election issue this year, the public made that clear with Mt Roskill, and I think they'd be very silly to ignore it."