The total number of new constables who have joined the New Zealand Police since the current government took office in October 2017 now stands at 1524, Police Minister Stuart Nash said in Wellington on Thursday, August 1, 2019.
He was speaking at the Graduation Parade of Police Recruit Wing 328 at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua.
Extra Police officers are being deployed from Northland to Southland with this graduation, Mr Nash said.
“The graduation of 79 constables means that 1524 new constables have been deployed since the government took office. One quarter of the new constables will be deployed to our largest Policing district, Counties Manukau. The remainder will commence duties on 12 August in towns from the far north to deep south and all across regional New Zealand,” he said.
Mr Nash said that it is important for Police to maintain an active and visible presence in neighbourhoods all over the country.
The success of the firearms buy-back and amnesty in many small towns has highlighted the strong relationship between local police and communities, he said.
“Reports from towns like Piopio, Waipu, Fairlie and Picton show that conversations between Police and gunowners are positive and engaging. Many officers graduating from Wing 328 can expect to play a part working alongside communities to remove the most dangerous firearms from circulation,” Mr Nash said.
The buyback is also making the everyday job of Policing much safer for our new recruits. Every month Police are called out to 200 crimes involving firearms. Every year up to 1000 guns are reported stolen from licensed owners. Many disappear into the hands of gangs.
“Today’s new constables will help tackle gang-related crime and reduce harm from drugs like methamphetamine. They are also increasingly supporting vulnerable communities. Last year Police responded to 33,000 mental health callouts, an increase of 11% over the previous year,” Mr Nash said.
“Wing 328 continues the strong commitment to increased diversity in our Police. Just over 30% are women, 13% Maori, 10% Pasifika, and 6% identify Asian. The youngest is 19 and the eldest is 50 years old. Between them, they speak eight languages other than English. Their sporting and cultural achievements include a professional rugby player, an Olympic swimmer, and a Waka Ama Champion,” he added.
This Reporter is the Patron of Wing 328.
Mr Nash said, “I want to personally acknowledge and thank the Wing Patron, Journalist and Community Leader Venkat Raman. He has long supported the work of Police through Advisory Forums, and been a great mentor to the recruits during their training.”
The Constables are being deployed to Police Districts as follows: Northland 2; Waitematā 12;
Auckland 2; Counties Manukau 19; Waikato 7; Bay of Plenty 6; Eastern 4; Central 5;
Wellington 7; Tasman 2; Canterbury 7; Southern 5.
Police Minister Stuart Nash inspecting the Graduating Constables of Wing 328 on August 1, 2019 (Picture Supplied)
Wing 328 Patron Venkat Raman greeting Constable Zane Wienk on August 1, 2019 (Picture Supplied)