880 new police still not enough - Labour

Labour says plans to boost police numbers is merely keeping up with demand.

The 880 new frontline officers have been allocated across the country - every district will receive more police and 20 more towns will get a 24-hour police presence.

"It is a 10 percent increase in police, and that's huge," Police Minister Paula Bennett told The AM Show on Thursday.

"The commissioner tells me [it's one of the most significant increases] he's ever seen."

Ms Bennett says Cabinet considered three proposals - one of the other two provided more police, and the third, fewer.

"There's no doubt that we need extra frontline police officers," said Labour deputy leader Jacinda Ardern, "and that's why we called for an extra 1000."

She says the police need more staff "to achieve pretty basic stuff", let alone get on top of crime.

"This boost, all it's going to do is keep pace with the demand the police already have."

Ms Bennett says police are "pleased" with the boost, which comes not long after the closure of a number of policing booths, particularly in small towns.

"They were always manned by volunteers, and when we had that awful, awful incident of the Work and Income staff being shot, it completely changed how they were staffed and the health and safety of it.

"We want them talking to young people on the streets, we want them doing more of the preventative work. Sitting in a kiosk I don't think is modern-day policing that works."

The Ministry of Social Development was convicted last year of failing to take steps to ensure the safety of its employees during the 2014 Work and Income shooting in Ashburton.


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