Police Minister Mark Mitchell says he has 'full confidence' in Commissioner Andrew Coster

New Police Minister Mark Mitchell has declared his full confidence in the Commissioner despite the pair having a frosty past.  

Mitchell said he's keen to look to the future and put his history with the police and Commissioner Andrew Coster behind him. 

It comes after Mitchell took the unusual step of writing a letter, titled Ministerial Expectations for the Commissioner of Police, highlighting several responsibilities Coster must meet in his role. 

In the letter, released by the Public Service Commissioner who helped draft it, Mitchell told police he wants a more visible police presence and new legislation. 

Mitchell wants a "back-to-basics" approach, cracking down on gangs and youth crime by using the full powers provided to them under the legislation. 

Mitchell told AM on Thursday morning the Commissioner "completely supported" the content in the letter and understood what the new Government wanted to achieve.  

He told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green New Zealand has had a pretty tough last six years with the outgoing Labour Government being a "wrecking ball for public safety".  

He believes the key to turning that around is having full trust in Coster.  

"I'm not going to look back now, I want to look forward. I was very public about the fact that I'd lost confidence in the direction of policing, the fact that I didn't feel like public safety was at the heart of what we're doing in this country and we've got to reverse that," Mitchell said.  

"We are focused on making sure that public safety is now the focus. I've got full confidence in the Commissioner after the meetings I've had with him over the last week and with the release of that public document very clearly stating what our expectations are." 

When asked if the document was a "warning letter" to Coster, Mitchell said it was making it very clear what the expectations are.  

"The reality of it is if someone's house is broken into, they no longer feel safe in the one place that they should feel safe, in their home. If someone goes to work in a shop and they're subjected to an aggravated robbery, they don't feel safe in their workplace anymore," he said.  

"The expectation now is that we actually take this seriously. We get the resources in the right place. That's going to require strong, decisive and supportive leadership from the Commissioner for his front line. That's going to mean moving more resources onto the front line and that's what this was about."  

When in opposition, Mitchell openly criticised the direction the police have taken over the past six years and was vocal about Coster's leadership. 

Mitchell was asked if he believed Coster had played any role in the degradation of public safety, with the Police Minister saying the Commissioner was in a difficult position.  

"He was serving under a Labour Government that prioritised things like repealing the only tough piece of sentencing law that we had in the three strikes. Emptying the prisons and handing cash out to gang members," he said.  

"He was a Police Commissioner in a very tough environment. As an incoming National Government, I want to be looking forward. There's a lot of work that we need to do and we need to do that together. This for me was putting the line in the sand and the reason why I went public is because there has been a loss of confidence in the public as well and it's important that we start to rebuild that."  

Watch the full interview above for more.