Increase in Police Numbers Will Improve Safety in Rural Communities

February 3, 2017 11:00 pm

The Government has announced an increase in police staffing. Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) welcomes the investment being made in policing, especially for rural and remote communities.

“Safety for rural residents, property and stock is paramount in isolated farming areas. An increase in police numbers should lead to increased presence in rural areas that are struggling with crime, such as burglary, drugs and family violence. The new non-emergency phone number will also make it more efficient for residents to follow up non-urgent matters,” says RWNZ’s National President Fiona Gower.

RWNZ are represented on the Police and Rural Stakeholder’s Committee and the Police Firearms Community Advisory Forum. RWNZ has made several submissions to government regarding rural policing, safety and emergency services. In August last year, RWNZ presented a submission at the Law and Order Select Committee on illegal possession of firearms. The submission stated concerns about the shortage of police in rural areas, and the impact of organised and firearm-related crime on community safety.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has said the increase includes an “extra 880 new Police officers into frontline roles” in areas of “child protection, family violence and in rural communities.” In addition to more staff in communications centres, intelligence teams and in specialist roles. “These new roles will continue to ensure police have the right tools and resources to do their jobs and achieve the best possible outcome for victims,” says Mike Bush.

The Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO) has also responded positively to the announcement. Spokesperson Nicole McKee agrees, that the focus of policing in rural areas is especially welcome as COLFO has been advocating for more resourcing for police so they may combat crime where it will be more effective.

“The Prime Minister’s backing of these key elements to effective policing will hopefully take the spotlight off the law-abiding firearms users and target criminals instead,” says Nicole McKee.

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