More Police would help but not enough

Phil Goff – 

I welcome the government’s commitment to increase Police staff levels.

As a former Auckland MP and a candidate for Mayoralty, I argued strongly for extra Police resources in our city.

While Auckland’s population has risen by 90,000 in the last two years alone, Police numbers rose by just a handful and the ratio of Police to population has got steadily worse.

On the ground that was reflected in alarmingly low rates of resolving crime, with over 92 out of every 100 burglaries for example, remaining unresolved. We were basically telling the criminals that they could burgle a home and steal a car and get away with it.

Frustrated parties

Time and again, as I went around Auckland, I heard stories from victims of crime who sought help from the Police but were not able to get it. The Police were just too overworked. And I know how frustrating that is.

When my motorbike was stolen, the Police told me to just claim on insurance and that they did not have the resources to look into the theft.

While overdue, I am pleased the government is now increasing Police staffing. I welcome any party’s commitment to make our communities safer by adding more Police resources.

However, we must remember that on its own it won’t solve increasing crime rates in Auckland.

Restoring staff levels

To restore staffing levels to have one Police officer for every 500 people, as John Key promised in 2008, would require another 650 officers in Auckland.

Prime Minister Bill English’s pledge of an increase of 880 sworn Police officers across the country won’t achieve this but it is a start.

On the ground, we need more Police as soon as possible to help the fight against crime. It is a basic human right for people to be safe in their homes and in our communities.

Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland.

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