Where the extra 1800 police officers will go

Police have announced where 1800 new police officers promised by the Government over the next three years will be located.

Around 1280 will be deployed to districts around the country with 200 focusing on preventing gang-related and drug-related crime.

The Eastern district will see the largest boost from new officers at 27 percent, followed by Northland which will see its police numbers grow by 25 percent compared to 2017 levels.

Where the extra 1800 police officers will go
Photo credit: NZ Police

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said he is particularly pleased to see police numbers boosted in the regions and provinces. 

"In Northland, a massive 25 percent increase in police numbers will make a huge difference to combat the methamphetamine scourge and improve safety in our communities," Mr Peters said.

"This investment in frontline policing is an investment in our provinces, our communities and our neighbourhoods."

Police Minister Stuart Nash says the allocation plan "finally allows police to make real inroads into crime prevention in order to reduce victimisation, lower reoffending and bring down imprisonment rates".

"To make a real difference we need to focus on crime prevention and community safety. Our first budget set aside $300 million in new operating funding and $18 million in new capital spending for police. I will be seeking further funding in Budget 2019."

The remaining 520 officers will be based in national roles. These include the training, support and coordination of local teams, countering high-level organised crime, tackling national and international drug supply chains, and specialist areas like combating cybercrime.

Roles of the 1800 new police officers:

  • 455 more in frontline emergency response
  • 325 more officers in prevention-focused positions working to help youth, prevent family harm and reduce repeat offending
  • 121 officers to establish new Precision Targeting Teams in every district to target serious and prolific local offenders to reduce burglary, robbery and other violence
  • 187 new investigators focused on current and historic complex cases including adult sexual assault and child protection
  • 500 national-level investigators and specialists to focus on organised criminal networks, national security, financial and cyber-crime
  • 146 investigators to make up Serious and Organised Crime Taskforces in every district  supporting local and national-level colleagues
  • 54 new Crime and Drug Prevention Officers - district-based positions working alongside organised crime specialists to provide pathways away from crime and addiction, including for the young and those on the periphery of gang life
  • 12 new permanent roles at the Police College to train and upskill officers

National's police spokesperson Chris Bishop has dismissed the announcement as "spin over substance".

"Mr Nash trumpeted this as a massive increase in frontline sworn police officers," he said.

"But the reality is that only around two-thirds of the total will be deployed into police districts and not even all of those will be frontline officers."

Mr Bishop said the Government's promised 1800 extra officers would include 800 that were funded by the previous National government.

Police commissioner Mike Bush said: "Today's allocation decisions have taken into account feedback from frontline staff, projected population growth, changing crime patterns, and other priority areas.

He said District Commanders will make further decisions about the deployment of officers at the area and station level.

"Our communities will benefit greatly through this investment as our staff work to prevent crime, victimisation and help vulnerable people turn their lives around."

Commissioner Bush said there is a record number of applications to the police force. There are 340 recruits currently in training at the Royal New Zealand Police College, with 80 starting every four weeks.

Police say the standard for new recruits will not be lowered to help get enough new officers on the ground.