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Fact checkin’: police numbers

Written By: - Date published: 8:21 am, November 24th, 2011 - 69 comments
Categories: police - Tags:

John Key said last night the Nats has boosted Police numbers by 600. In fact, 2008, Police numbers have grown by only 442, 5.4%, barely more than population growth. All but 80 of those extra cops came in the 2008/09 year – under Labour’s last budget. Cops per capita has fallen in the last two years. No wonder there are more unsolved crimes.

And now the Nats have been rumbled on their secret plan to freeze police recruitment.

Good to see that Key has the cops running around raiding media stations over a ‘bland’ cup of tea, eh?

69 comments on “Fact checkin’: police numbers”

  1. Roy 1

    But the cops all have lots of spare time! Jonkey SAID SO!

  2. Tom Gould 2

    Facts are great, but they have no place in MSM reportage of this issue. With only a couple days to go, it is necessary for the MSM to smash the perception that their beloved Tories are cutting police numbers and police budgets. So run the attacks on Goff, and the half-truths of Crusher and O’Connor, but please, keep the facts out of it!! Goff said the recruitment was being deferred, and Collins says that is completely wrong, the first wing is being delayed. Everyone knows that “delayed” is vastly different from “deferred”. Goff has got it completely wrong, right?

    • jaundiced 2.1

      Mr Goff: …just been advised that you’re deferring all recruiting next year

      Collins: … there will be recruiting in March 2012

      I think you are right Tom Gould – unfortunately Mr Goff has been misled and got it wrong

      • He just said what he had been told and asked Key if it was true.
        However, according to Dave Armstrong, Claire “politics ain’t my thing” Robinson and others said that Goff was overstepping the mark by acting as an interviewer.

        Forgive me, but I thought this was a democracy, and that in a democracy it is the job of EVERYONE to ask questions. Even if the information you have, or how you phrase the question is not perfect.

        Key needed to give account.

        • Pete George

          Key couldn’t ‘give account’, he didn’t know anything about something that seems to have been incorrect.

          • William Joyce

            So he was unprepared and didn’t now something he was supposed to know?
            So we shouldn’t be shouting “SHOW US THE SCHEDULE, SON” because it is unfair to expect Key to have all the details at hand.
            What do they call that? Oh yeah…..double standards!

  3. Jim Nald 3

    Oh gawd, donkey, it is awful when the truth poops out

  4. James 111 4

    Shame when Greg Oconnor doesnt know about it, looks of desperation one feels. I have one question though if John Key had said that to Phil Goff would Phil have called John a liar.
    Phil cant call others liars then lie himself really quite hypocritical you would think

    • The Voice of Reason 4.1

      Except Goff isn’t lying. Collins has confirmed that the January intake has been cancelled, which is what Phil was saying and the union leader has confirmed that he too had heard the rumours of a freeze. So Goff was right to raise it and right about it being because of budget cuts.

      And of course, the one fundamental difference between Goff and Key is that when Key was called a liar in the first debate, he didn’t argue with the assessment.

      • Pete George 4.1.1

        “Collins has confirmed that the January intake has been cancelled, which is what Phil was saying ”

        Mr Goff said he had been told that the Government was deferring police recruiting for all of next year.

        He reiterated that claim on Radio New Zealand this morning, saying he had been given the information from a “very reliable, very well-informed” source.


        Goff said after the debate:
        “It’s a very serious matter to defer recruitment for all of next year.”

        • The Voice of Reason

          January is in next year, Pete. That’s how calenders work. Why were your masters hiding this cancellation? What were they scared of?

          • Pete George

            Another aspect of calendars is they have 12 months in a year. And March is one of those months next year, so if they have a recruit intake in March that debunks the “all of next year” claim.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              So NOW its not an operational issue.

              Collins says there WILL be an intake in March ( perhaps the only ONE of the year !!)

              We have heard these weasel words before. Tax cuts promised before the last election anyone

              • Jim Nald

                Truth is an operational matter.

                Truth is having an operation on this side of the election.

                Cut slash cut slash cut slash shhhh shhhhhhhhhh

        • William Joyce

          So? He just said what he had been told and is speculating on the implications if it was true. He asked Key if it was true – that’s his job as part of the opposition.
          Of course you wouldn’t get that because UF will be anyone’s man-whore so it doesn’t have to be in the opposition.

      • jaundiced 4.1.2


        The comment Mr Goff made was “…deferring all recruiting next year…”

        Ms Collins said that the January draft will take place in March because very few police are leaving.

        There are differences in both statements to yours.

        • William Joyce

          So?? He was just asked if what he had been told was true. Perfectly reasonable.

        • The Voice of Reason

          Yep, but why was Collins hiding the fact that she was behind the cancellation of the January intake. National; Soft on Crime?

          Goff and O’Connor from the union both heard the rumours and they turn out to be true, at least partially. The commisioner has confirmed that there is a budget related freeze on recruitment. That’s a fact. Collins has tried to weasel out by saying we’ve got enough cops already, but it’s actually about the underfunding of the Police.

          • Pete George

            “The commisioner has confirmed that there is a budget related freeze on recruitment. That’s a fact.”

            Can you link to that fact? I haven’t seen it.

        • Lanthanide

          Ms Collins says that’s what the plan is now that Goff has spilt the beans.

          Why didn’t Ms Collins come out and say this prior to the election?

          We can’t know for sure whether the original plan was to defer for the whole year or not. We have Goff’s word vs Ms Collins. Ms Collins clearly had something to hide and is now in damage control.

  5. I’ve just fact checked the annual report linked to in the post.

    We are also delivering on the Government’s pledge to increase
    by 600 the number of constabulary employees. Graduations
    from The Royal New Zealand Police College will take our
    strength to 8,907 full-time equivalent staff by the end of 2011.

    That’s in the Commissioners Overview on page 3.

    • Read on, pal. Page 27 says that since June 2008 they have added 442 (5.4%).
      The report says that they are on the track to reach 600 by December 2011.
      According to Collins this morning they are then going to stop until March.
      We only have her word on it that she wasn’t planning on stopping it for all of 2012. Nobody from police will go on the record and say that she changed it after Goff asked his question.

      With attrition, dropouts and the rise in population gains will be lost.

    • Blighty 5.2

      And 362 of those new cops were in Labour’s last budget. So… what’s the achievement that National is claiming again?

  6. Its the quality of recruiting that worries me, not to mention…

    Dozens of police officers face criminal charges

    In the past three years, 977 police staff have faced internal disciplinary action, with just over a quarter (252) from Auckland.

    The numbers have risen dramatically each year from 175 in 2009, to 265 in 2010 and 272 this year.

    The number of staff resigning while under investigation has also jumped considerably.

    In 2009, only three officers subjected to internal investigations resigned. That number jumped the following year to 22, and to 42 in 2011.


    what the fucks goin on ?

    • The Voice of Reason 6.1

      It’s all that spare time that Key was waffling about. Idle hands do the devil’s work!

    • To meet political pressure they are churning them out too quickly. They are generally too young (in my opinion) Add to that the loss of senior officers (perf’d out) who can set the tone for the new guys.

      • pollywog 6.2.1

        Just trying out my new spinning wheel of misfortune…

        Dodgy cop numbers rise dramatically on Collins watch

        Since John Key took over government reins in 2008 and under his Police Minister, Judith Collins, numbers have shown a dramatic rise in police facing disciplinary charges and resignations while under investigation.

        In the past three years, 977 police staff have faced internal disciplinary action, with just over a quarter (252) from Auckland.

        The numbers have risen dramatically each year from 175 in 2009, to 265 in 2010 and 272 this year.

        The number of staff resigning while under investigation has also jumped considerably.

        In 2009, only three officers subjected to internal investigations resigned. That number jumped the following year to 22, and to 42 in 2011.

        Though overall numbers for the police have swelled since the last elections by around 450 or so, taking into account the previous Labour government’s budgeted intake of 400, it remains far short of the promised 600 frontline police Key promised as an election platform in 2008.

        The high number of police facing investigation and disciplinary charges would suggest that the quality of recruiting and the internal vetting of correct procedure under Judith Collins watch has been woefully mismanaged.

        Sources claim a freeze on police recruitment is in place until March next year

      • ianmac 6.2.2

        Funny but true. The policemen and women get younger and younger. Last night I saw a 10 year old constable arresting a drunken youth. Think he was about 10.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    Seems like there is four police intakes a year.
    January is part of a freeze…..

    March is going ahead according to the Minister in charge of Police recruitment. Will she resign if the other intakes for the year are stopped ?

    Or will she suddenly say its an operational matter …… cough.

    Or will she even be police minister next year, as usual national party procedure is to rotate middle ranking ministers least their promises catch up with them

  8. bob 8

    Stuff: “Goff police claim wrong’

    NZ Herald: “Police freeze claim ‘desperate”

    TVNZ: “Goff’s Police freeze claim rubbished by National”

    Seems that the MSM etc disagree with the (perhaps slightly one eyed) folk here at the Standard.

    Looks like another own goal by Goff. Had he been prepared he could have put some weight behind it but “hearing rumors from somebody” doesn’t hold any weight with people when they don’t trust him already.

    Chalk that up to a win for National.

    • Craig Glen Eden 8.1

      Try actually reading the articles Bob instead of just the headlines. Own goal Bob! Shit you Nats are thick.

      • jaundiced 8.1.1

        Your statement is curious Craig,

        When I read the articles Bob cites I find they are consistent with the headlines – it seems that Mr Goff was wrongly advised and spoke without the facts.

        If he were willing to name his source in the public interest or table proof then perhaps he would have make some traction with his claim, but as it is Mr Goff is the headlines for all the wrong reasons

        • William Joyce

          “If he were willing to name his source in the public interest or table proof then perhaps he would have make some traction with his claim, but as it is Mr Goff is the headlines for all the wrong reasons”

          Were you not watching last night?
          He said he had heard and asked if it was true.
          Have you never heard something and asked someone who should know if it was true?
          There is no public interest in the source of a rumour. Likewise no proof was required.
          And certainly no need for retraction.
          It was asked as a question and Key was free to respond with he truth or correction.

          The question prompted Collins to come out with an explanation and correction.
          What Goff had heard was only partly true.
          Something Key could have told us on the night – if he wasn’t so interested in school boy antics by saying no to “all next year” – instead of being a co-operative adult and engaged in dialogue and corrected Goff with “part of next year”.

        • Craig Glen Eden

          Yeah even Greg O’Conner is dubious about the ministers spin

          “O’Connor yesterday said he had not been told of any plans to freeze police recruitment, but there had been rumours.”

          So Mr O’Connor has also heard the rumours they would be the same rumour’s that Goff asked Key about lst night. Collins says the recruitment of Police is going to start again in March, this from the woman who said she was going to crush repeat boy racers cars, so dont hold you breath Jaundice or you may go blue instead of yellow.

    • locus 8.2

      These headlines tend to confirm the political bias of the MSM.

      How about a MSM headlines saying

      “Police Association warn recruitment freeze a “disaster”


      “Collins confirms delay in Police recruitment”

    • Tom Gould 8.3

      @ bob, you lost me, sorry. The MSM are smashing Goff over? Is that what you are saying? Okay. Must be tough waking from a coma after 3 years, bob? Still, nice you can now rejoin us.

  9. Craig Glen Eden 9

    Yup typical spin from National the cops recruiting has been capped ( just like the rest of public service) normally the first intake would be in January thats not happening now but will go ahead in March????? Collins and Key have said Goff has made this up will they both resign if Police numbers decrease next year? Remember National are campaigning on continuing to be being tough on crime?

    So if you are not increasing Police numbers are you being weak on Crime?

    • bob 9.1

      Actually Craig – dropping prison sentences of under 6 months (Charles C) and putting repeat rapist (3 strikes law) back on the street is not tough on crime and are both labour initiatives.

      • Craig Glen Eden 9.1.1

        But its National who are saying they are tough on crime Bob actually thats Nationals line. So if you are not increasing police numbers when the population is growing and less crimes are being solved is that really being tough on crime Bob.

        Also if Police have time on their hands as Key claimed why are they not solving more crime?

        Finally because we live in dinamic times is Colins and Key going to resign if the “CAP” on Police numbers actually results in a reduction in numbers during the 2011/2012 year. Or is it going to be nuxtminnut again from Key and Crusher Collins.

  10. bob 10

    Here is a great summary from the listener this morning on this: from Newstalk ZB”

    “Sean Plunket asks him (Goff) about nothing else in a testy exchange on Newstalk ZB Wellington.

    Who’s your source, Plunket demands. “I can tell you the source is reliable, and you know as a journalist you don’t reveal your sources.” Judith Collins was forced to admit there would be no January intake, he says. There will be none in February, either – and he’s hearing from “other journalists” that budgetary pressures could mean further cancellation of recruitment.

    Do you have any proof that there was a political instruction not to talk about the deferral until after the election? “I was told the information was not to be released.”

    You better tell us who your source is, then, says Plunket. Because you’re starting to look like Winston Peters, “who is known for baseless claims for political gain.”

    The two men talk over one another for what feels like a full 30 seconds or so. “I’m going mate, I’ve got another appointment,” says Goff – and after a quick burst of debate, he’s gone.

    “Clearly doesn’t want to get into it,” says Plunket, before launching into an angry denunciation of the Labour leader. His source says it’s going to be cancelled, it’s not, it’s going to be deferred. His source says it’s for budgetary reasons, and there’s no proof of that. And he tells us it wasn’t announced for political reasons – again no proof. “So Phil Goff, I think, defending the indefensible,” says Plunket. “The best thing he should do is release his source, otherwise he’s talking through a hole in the head … Well I’m sorry, Mr Goff .. It would seem to me your source is a crock .. Maybe your source is telling you what you want to hear.”

    ouch !

    • How thoroughly unprofessional of Plunket.
      It has long been considered bad form to rant like that after the interview is over – it is considered an unfair use of the power of the microphone.
      Plunket set up an unreal expectation (that Goff should reveal his sources) and then throws a hissy fit because Goff wont do what he said.
      The fault here is with Plunket not Goff.

      “The best thing he should do is release his source, otherwise he’s talking through a hole in the head”
      tsk tsk tsk Sean – what a plonker.

      Thanks bob for bringing this appalling unprofessional behaviour to our attention.

      • bob 10.1.1

        You are welcome, but I would think that the majority of people listening to that will hear Goff running away, and fluffing – not concerned about the host at all.

        Still – I could be wrong and we will know on Saturday night.

        • William Joyce

          “running away” – thank you for that little gem on human behaviour.
          So Key was “running away” when he didn’t want to answer what was on the tape?
          So it’s official –
          “Key supporters say he was running away from the media”
          “Key’s People say he is chicken”

          Bravely bold Sir John rode forth from Camelot.
          He was not afraid to die, O brave Sir John!
          He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways,
          Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir John!

          He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp,
          Or to have his eyes gouged out, and his elbows broken;
          To have his kneecaps split, and his body burned away;
          And his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir John!

          His head smashed in and his heart cut out
          And his liver removed and his bowels unplugged
          And his nostrils raped and his bottom burned off
          And his pen–

          • bob

            Well – if we call one running away – then its fair to call them both running away – so yes.

            In fairness it was reported as much in the news on Key also.

            Will be funny if they report the same on Goff.

            But – if thats what you want to take out of the conversation – good on you. If you think that Goff came out of that interview looking good then I believe you are delusional.

            Look at all the press today – 2 days from election and its all about Goff and his numbers, and how he was wrong on the police comments.

            is that REALLY what you and ‘your team’ wanted – 2 days from the election?

            Didnt think so. So own goal by Goff. Again. I predict another slight movement down for them.

            30% would be the best they could dream of – I think that they are heading closer to 25%.

            Time will tell.

            • Jackal

              Did we ever find out who Keys source was concerning the Standard & Poor’s downgrade debacle?

              • bob

                Nope – I dont believe so. Looking at poll results it didnt dint Key at all. Perhaps you will get lucky and this wont impact Goffs polling either.

                • Jackal

                  The difference of course is that Key was lying about what was said in the S&P meeting… he even made his lie in the House of Representatives, which is a dismissible offense.

                  Goff on the other hand asked some questions that have been shown to be correct. National was intending to reduce the number of Police recruits… Phil was simply not aware of National’s time frame.

                  Therefore his sources have been proven correct while John Keys source concerning the S&P downgrade was clearly unreliable. If you gauge the public reaction to these events by polling alone… you’re more of an fool than I first thought Bob.

    • Craig Glen Eden 10.2

      Goff does not have to reveal the source of the rumor just as Plunket wouldn’t reveal sources.If Key wont confirm a conversation he had with Banks which was taped by the media why should Goff reveal the source of a rumor that is pretty much on the money.

      Key and Collins in my opinion should tell the electorate that Police numbers are in-fact not going to decrease. Of coarse if they do that it is inconsistent with the line that they are going to “stay tough on crime.

      • insider 10.2.1

        Actually no he is not on the money, He said ALL training was deferred next year – that means multiple courses. Collins is quoted in the Herald saying numbers won’t drop/

  11. Pssst 11

    Good friends don’t let a mate debate and lie…

  12. Collins interviewed at the airport said that
    1. Goff needed to names his sources
    2. Stop telling lies.

    So which is it Judy? He was mere repeating what he heard or he is making it up himself?

    Could it be that you’re on the attack to hide the fact that he is partly right?

    BTW Jude – how many cars have you crushed so far? What about the shipping container prisons that will save us money? or have you spent that money on PPP prisons? Perhaps Gerry stole all your shipping containers for shops? Don’t worrt, apparently there’s a new shipment of containers about to arrive on our shores – from Tauranga to East Cape.

  13. Jackal 13

    Crusher Collins bullshit artist

    Judith Collins is lying about low numbers of Police leaving the force. The current figures show that the amount of Police leaving is about the same as those being recruited.

    Collins said the attrition rate was 3.2 per cent, requiring police to train 280 officers to cover the gap, compared to the 6 per cent rate under Labour.

    Wrong Collins… page 32 of the New Zealand Police Annual Report 2011 (PDF) states that in 2009/2010 726 Police left the force while 751 Police started… a difference of only 25 new Police officers.

    The average number of Police under National’s administration was exactly 11,887.5. This gives an attrition rate of 6.1%. Therefore the amount of Police leaving the force has increased under National.

  14. insider 14

    What about phil goff running away from an interview when the going got tough with Sean Plunket today? Reminds me of Key stalking off from a press confernece recently.

    [audio src="http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/podcasts/audio/24102709.mp3" /]

    • jem 14.1

      Good point there Insider.

      All the fuss that was made when JK walked out of the press conference, peopel saying that if he couldnt take the heat he shouldnt be PM..and he’s the fearless Goff running for the Hills this morning!!!

      You people make me laugh.. try opening the other eye, you’ll fidn you can see clearer!

      • bob 14.1.1

        Yep – that clip is doing the rounds and people are laughing. It shows a man well out of his depth and desperate not to come off as a liar (which it seems he has been doing).

        Goff / Labour really didn’t need this today – and anyone that argues that Goff has some off well because of this is, well, probably so indoctrination that they will never be able to see the other side of a story.

        Anyway – have the clip on my facebook and sharing with all I can.

      • Jackal 14.1.2

        What a terrible interview. Sean Plunket was very unprofessional.

        1. The fact that the January intake has been cancelled has now been confirmed.

        2. The figures show that the attrition rate has increased slightly under National from 6% to 6.1%. This means Crusher Collins lied this morning.

        The problem with the right wing is they tend to get a bit nasty when they get caught out.

        • godder

          Yeah, its so unprofessioanl of a journalist to challenge a politician to reveal the evidence on which they base their claims about a freeze on Police recuritment when all they have done is quote a “secret source” and when the claims have been dismissed by the Police Minister, the Police Association and the Police Commissioner.

          What on earth was Plunkett thinking.

          • Carol

            The evidence is there and neither Plunket nor his right wing supporters want to admit it. Collins was shamed into stating that the police recruitment had been put on hold for January and February. Her explanation as to why this is happening is weak.

          • Ed

            It was not a claim. It was a statement (about what he had been told) and a question. Of the facts that he had been told, the cancellation of the January intake was correct. Of the other thing that he had been told, – that no further recruitment would take place – all we really know is that the Minister has now made a (new) commitment not to reduce numbers.

            Naturally O’Connor was delighted – as he pointed out they had been asked to cut 15% when of all costs, staff make up over 80%. The police can now go back to government saying that they cannot give both a 15% cost reduction as well as maintain staff. The alternative is that we elect a Labour-led government who can join the dots and make sensible decisions in eh first place.

        • bob

          The problem is that Goff said that recruitment for next year was being deferred – not just Januarys.

          The problem with the left wing is that they tend to get a little selective in what they read trying to justify when caught out.

          • Jackal

            It was Key who’s been caught out once again. He either didn’t know what National was planning and is therefore incompetent or he would not answer the question because the announcement was planned for after the election.

            National have once again been caught trying to manipulate people into believing something that is not true. They want the public to continue to think they’re increasing Police numbers when they intend to do the opposite.

            What you don’t seem to understand bob is that Crusher actually didn’t intend to only cut the first intake of Police recruits… her saying so is called damage control. Part of that damage control is to go on the attack… as the interview and many rightwing blogs show.

            John Key said Phil Goff was making things up then the next day Crusher Collins confirmed that there will be a freeze on Police recruits until March next year.

            Crushers excuse for “deferring” the first intake is that there’s less Police leaving the force… this is untrue.

            Plunket argues that the first intake was not cancelled, it was deferred… these both amount to a reduction in Police recruits. Plunket actually seems a bit insane!

            The right wing should probably stop digging.

            • bob

              I guess we will have to agree to disagree. Which is fine – come election day we can cancel out each others votes.

              But I am yet to hear any leftie say that any of this “police thing” has gone well for Goff.

              We will see come Saturday – Im picking it has hurt Goff more than Key and we are looking at Labor nearing 25%.

          • Galeandra

            The problem with Bob is that he’s just an ordinary shill— yesterday he was acting the long lost kiwi ‘home again, ‘ and chuckle chuckle aw shucks, the wee boys doin’ well an’ all……

            Still, it’s good to see the Nacts in a bit of panic:
            “Get out’n vote– it’s crucial!”
            Personal phone pre-recorded messages from Key, doncha know…..a certain pleasure in hanging up on him.

            So your polling shows you that a lot of Kiwis have put the phone back on the hook? Suddenly you need to get the message out? Save your breath.

    • Carol 14.2

      Well I don’t blame Goff for saying he needed to get to another appointment. Plunket would not accept Goff’s explanation, kept talking over Goff and wanted to have the final word saying Goff was wrong.

      They could have gone on like that forever, with Plunket saying “you have no evidence” and Goff responding with his explanation. Plunket’s just a bully who wanted to have the last word and wanted to bully Goff into submission.

      • insider 14.2.1

        I’d agree that Plunket was a bit over the top. Seemed like he had a point to prove and wasn’t going to stop till it was done multiple times.

        Many Standardistas applauded similar behaviour by Duncan Garner and Patrick whatshisface in recent weeks.

  15. Both TV1 & TV3 news tonight indicated that there was a story about police recruitment and that the government had a case to answer.

    Neither of them split hairs over whether Goff was fully or partially right but that he was functionally right and there was a story there.

    So Plunket’s colleagues haven’t taken his position. It’s not a pretty thought but I think Plunket is caught in the headlights with his trousers around his ankles.

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