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National’s policing problem

Written By: - Date published: 12:09 pm, March 30th, 2017 - 48 comments
Categories: crime, Judith Collins, labour, national, nz first, paula bennett, police, Politics, same old national - Tags:

It seems that after 9 years the general population’s tolerance of National is declining and the excuses are not working.  Smiling and waving and hollering “its Labour’s fault” is no longer working.

Crime and policing are particular weaknesses for National.  Its primary economic policy, rampant immigration, is squeezing the ability of the state to provide the same level of care as it has in the past.  A freeze on government departmental spending is an effective cut as existing budgets are meant to be spread over an ever increasing population.  And nowhere are the repercussions more apparent than in the area of law and order.  As Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett discovered yesterday.

From Stuff:

The deputy prime minister faced a hostile crowd, fed-up with escalating crime, when she visited Thames.

Paula Bennett, who is also police minister, held a public meeting on Wednesday at the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre to discuss residents’ growing concern about assaults, burglaries and drug offences in the area.

She was joined by Waikato Police district commander, Superintendent Bruce Bird.

The meeting was a full-house with many voicing their frustrations and holding signs saying they had “more teeth than the NZ police”.

Thames High School student Paris Lee, 17, told Bennett a friend of hers was recently hospitalised with concussion after being attacked by other students.

Paris said she was concerned the police couldn’t do anything to help.

“Those students should not be allowed back at our school and they are and they are scaring me and my friends. We can’t do anything about being attacked at school and the police can’t do anything about it.

“It’s so wrong, we don’t feel safe and we need that, all of us.”

The article mentions other complaints made at the meeting all indicative of the local police being inadequately resourced to do their job.

National needs to wear this. An article in Stuff from last year shows why police are finding it more and more difficult to do their job.

The following graph from the article shows the ratio of police numbers per head of population from

Note how when Labour came into power the number was high, but as time went by numbers were reduced down to 1 in 500. Note also how since 2009 the ratio has again risen.

And there is a direct measurable consequence to this penny pinching.  Clearance rates for offending has gone up.  Following is a further graph from the article showing offence clearing rates over time.

Clearance rates increased considerably last time Labour was in power.  Since 2009 they have worsened and have plunged since 2012 which is the same time that the police population ratio declined.

Labour and New Zealand First have previously announced policies to increase police numbers.  National has promised to do the same but it is clearly playing catch up.  The more it moves to mimic the effect of announced opposition policies the more desperate it looks.

48 comments on “National’s policing problem”

  1. Neil 1

    I have just been the victim of a burglary where tools were taken out of the boot of my car parked in my driveway in the last two weeks, the offender was seen & can be named by one of the two witness’s. I went to my local police station to report it & the police cant be bothered doing anything about it even though there is two witness’s & one of whom can identify the offender, the police haven’t even bothered to interview the witness’s. I may only work part time due to medical conditions, but I worked damn hard to get those tools, no doubt if I was a member of the local elite the police would’ve bent over backwards to recover the stolen tools asap. Oh well I suppose this is life when you are not one of the elite of society. Where I live is only a small town with a relatively small population, so the police are not exactly run off their feet with job’s.

  2. Antoine 2

    Too many flippin criminals is the problem

    • Keith 2.1

      And that’s just the National Party!

    • Muttonbird 2.2

      Bad social policy makes criminals, nothing else.

      • Well, for violent crime, sure. But crimes of opportunity can happen without failure in social policy. (eg. fraud, tax evasion, etc…)

      • Antoine 2.2.2

        Bad choices make criminals.

        No one (in nz) needs to steal, bash or deal drugs.

        • McFlock 2.2.2.1

          …no further thought on the matter needed.

          Vote tory! /sarc

          • Antoine 2.2.2.1.1

            By all means let’s have a government with proper social policy, better mental health services, better addiction services, saner drug laws, more.effective rehabilitation and so forth.

            I just think it’s worth taking a minute to remember that the scumbags committing crimes (whether rich or poor) are still the actual cause of the problem.

            • McFlock 2.2.2.1.1.1

              Well, if they can be reduced in number by social policy, they’re actually just a symptom.

              • Antoine

                Only if you don’t accept that there is individual choice.

                No one has to bash their partner, no matter what the Government does or doesnt do.

                • McFlock

                  And yet the government can do so much to affect the options that someone can see in a given situation and the decisions that they then make. This doesn’t exonerate someone who commits a crime.

                  If someone can dramatically reduce the number of people who choose to commit a crime, and chooses to do nothing to stop the people from committing those crimes, do they not bear some responsibility for the difference?

                  • Antoine

                    Sure, but not the primary responsibility which rests on the criminal.

                    • McFlock

                      And which is also irrelevant to a population-based discussion about police numbers. Do you have anything to say on that? Currently you seem to be on 5/35 comments and you haven’t discussed the post once.

                    • Antoine

                      [shrug] More police would be nice but would cost money. I suspect $1 well spent on prevention is worth $5 spent on policing.

                    • McFlock

                      🙄

                    • michelle

                      Who do you think you are Antione the king or something being so judgmental. Poverty is one of the main drivers of crime we only have to look to other countries to see people can get robbed for a dime or a cigarette or something less. What are we now seeing in our country and what happens when people have no where to live ?
                      What you need to think about Antioine is why has crime risen so much and why have prison rates increased so much under this government in the last 9 years. This shows they have failed to look after too many NZers. Lets boot these tory mongrels to the curb where they belong they have destroyed our beautiful country and they have divided us as a people. Divide and conquer.

                    • Mordecai

                      ‘Poverty is one of the main drivers of crime ‘
                      And you will back that up by reference to data showing the huge increase in crime during the 1930’s depression. Nah.

                    • Antoine

                      Michelle, why do you say “crime has risen so much under this government”? Last figures I saw (admittedly a couple of years out of date), crime was falling under National. See e.g. http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2015/10/crime_down_30.html, http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2013/03/crime_sentencing_stats.html, or the less partisan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_New_Zealand.

                      But you may have more up to date figures.

                      (Of course this is reported crime / convictions as opposed to actual crime…)

                    • McFlock

                      And you will back that up by reference to data showing the huge increase in crime during the 1930’s depression. Nah.

                      Actually, the data does back that up in an interesting way. I did find a passing reference that looked at magistrates’ trials that seemed to call a decrease in crime, so was intrigued. That was the most I could find, so decided to go straight to the horses’ mouth.

                      I can’t provide a link to the finished product because it’s my own thinking on the issue, but I’ll tell the process so you can repeat it.

                      Firstly I went to statsnz and did some digging in their infoshare “long-term data series”, which has all sorts of caveats around usage and reliability.

                      From say 1920 to WW2, they have police recorded crime stats (annual at december) as well as population estimates (annual to march) and GDP calculations (I used the Greasley and Oxley index where 1939=100). So dividing the recorded recorded crime number by the population and adding the order of magnitude gives you your crime rate per thousand.

                      Putting GDP on the primary axis (0-100) and the crime rate on the secondary axis (0-30) .

                      It does seem that big spikes and dips in GDP are roughly mirrored by opposite rises and dips in crime rate, no?

                      If I gave more of a shit I’d sort the axes and bung a link in dropbox or something, but I don’t because I don’t think you actually asked a genuine question, it was just bullshit which you don’t care whether it was true or not.

                    • Antoine

                      Anyway, it’s obvious that poverty is associated with crime, because crime rates are higher among lower socioeconomic groups. No need to do comparisons across time periods.

                      In reality i suspect the relationships between poverty and crime are complicated, with various key factors such as addictions, mental illness, upbringing, education, fetal alcohol syndrome, welfare dependency, ethnicity, social standing and lack of social mobility correlating with both.

                      I’m sure professionals study this stuff.

                      A.

                    • Mordecai

                      “but I don’t because I don’t think you actually asked a genuine question…”
                      My question was rhetorical. Unlike you, I know the answer. Here’s a thought provoking article on crime in the US during the depression and since. It debunks the lefts false connection between poverty and crime with hard evidence.

                      https://www.city-journal.org/html/crime-and-great-recession-13399.html

                    • McFlock

                      meh.

                      “debunks”? You really shouldn’t use words you don’t understand.

                • Sabine

                  Hmm, do you tell that to our violent/drink driving/sex worker abusing rugby players too? or are they different. ‘

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Only if you don’t accept that there is individual choice.

                  Wrong.

                  There are social factors at play. Stress from being punished by the government for being poor for example. Being brought up in an abusive environment and so think that bashing people is normal.

                  And many more.

                  These factors do have have to be taken into account especially government policy. Who’s responsible of a child is killed by their parent because they snapped under the pressure caused by government policy? Or the people who commit suicide because they got dumped off of the unemployment benefit with no other support?

                  See, I think it should the government with the whole damn lot getting booked for murder because it’s well known that such things happen and thus they must have wanted it to happen when they voted upon such policies.

            • mauī 2.2.2.1.1.2

              The people committing crimes are often victims themselves is also worth remembering.

        • mauī 2.2.2.2

          What we need is more prisons, more police but we really mean less police and get tough on gangs… Oh we have that already and society is tearing itself apart.

        • Anno1701 2.2.2.3

          “or deal drugs.”

          but then where will the 30-40% of the population that use them get them from ?

          your pushing it up hill, everybody is at it …

  3. Keith 3

    What a mess National have made. Totally predictable however.

    Fact: National cut taxes in 2009.

    Fact: Pre 2008 election, National correctly identified Counties Manukau district were badly short on staffing numbers (despite all senior officers there denying this at the time) and increased their numbers by 300 as a 2008 election policy. Well done National and I mean it!

    Fact: National then cut the police budget by 10% in 2009 leading to the infamous 10% cut in the police fleet http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10578900, amongst other things albeit there was an increase in theory to fund the training of the 300 extra officers. Nice slight of hand National and I don’t mean it, you dodgy fucks!

    And then in 2011/2012 under Minister Tolley the Police had to save an additional 19%, a savings figure that featured in many other government dept’s at the time. For example from the police “Performance Improvement Framework” document it was quoted as stating “Police is targeting to achieve a 13% reduction in recorded crime and a 19% decrease in prosecutions”. This does not include literally years of a frozen budget.

    You see, just like that a magic 19% reduction in people appearing in court. The NZ Police, on a slashed then frozen budget did their impression of turning water into wine, but how?

    This governments budget cuts were ably supported by the police executive, like many well paid top enders, they ask how high when asked to jump. They are paid well to do so I assume.

    Thames like many area’s is a mess suffering from what I have seen in the media of recent, from years of police and justice budget problems and also stemming also from the centralisation of police resources to main centres. Good luck to you calling 111 and expecting a response.

    And yet we are supposed to have to amazing explosive world envying economy! Were the police some kind of General Motors, having closed assembly plants/stations; http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/67617030/Police-shut-30-stations-in-effort-to-combat-budget-cuts, they would be axing staff right now rather than just letting them slip away without replacement. Somehow I don’t think Paula wants to be confronted by that kind of honest response to live within their budget, not right now anyway.

    You see, you can have tax cuts and a half arse critical public service, not that Mike Hosking gives a shit but at some point this will come back to haunt people like Hosking.

    But if anyone thinks Nationals panicked response of yet to be seen 800 odd extra police to the crisis in policing created by National, (one that is to simply replace the ones who have gone and not been replaced), is not going to be followed by cuts elsewhere, then they are sadly mistaken and are frankly idiots!

    • Richard@Downsouth 3.1

      Dont forget the tax cuts effectively did nothing if you were earning under $25k (from memory), and then the increase in GST kicked people while they were down (from memory in about 2012 45% of PAYE tax payers earnt under $25k

  4. saveNZ 4

    Have to say that I normally have a positive experience with police. I’ve been burgled a few times and both times the police managed to apprehend the offenders and recovered most of the goods.

    Of the offenders one was homeless and the other had a major drug problem and was on bail.

    They really need to have treatment centres to send the offenders to, or the cycle continues. They just get worse if the justice system sends them to prison.

    I’m all for the Icelandic system that someone posted about getting drug users into hobbies and engaged with society.

    If the government wants to pour Meth into our country and make it hard for people to access welfare, there’s obviously going to be more crime.

    I’ve also been the victim of very serious crime and the police were amazing.

    Last time I went to a TPPA protest I noticed one of the police tapping his feet to the music.

    I’ve also laid a complaint to the commissioner of police in the past and got a good response.

    Just thought I would put it out so it’s not all doom and gloom about our police.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      I am supportive of the police as well. I know a lot of them and they are motivated by the best of beliefs. This post is not anti police. Essentially it says they should have more resources.

      • Sabine 4.1.1

        and they should redirect their focus away from ‘easy crime’ such as writing tickets and weed to actual crime such as armed robberies of dairys and houses buringing down to meth cooking.

        A few weeks ago a house was burned down in a meth cook gone wrong, luckily no one was hurt but one property is gone and with it the lifelyhood of the owner, and another property is badly damaged. Btw, this is not Akl this is middle of no-where NZ dairy country.

        Follwing this a few days later, pictures of some coppers proudly telling everyone how they stopped an evil weed grower and his ‘twelve’ TWELVE plants.

        One actually can’t make this shit up anymore.

        Maybe we not only need more cops, but also some Polititians with guts that would not mind / dare overhaul our drug laws. Cause clearly the focus is on feel good arrest while the rest is ignored and with it the damage it does to the country.

        What is Labour gonna do, other then re-employing a thousand cops. Cause if all these cops are gonna do is write tickets and bust private pot growers nothing is gonna change.

        • Well if they’re smart they’ll agree to the Greens’ decriminalisation policies in their coalition deal so that there are no police resources being wasted on marijuana enforcement, for a start.

          And yeah, limits on how much police resource “easy crime” and revenue-generating activities like writing tickets are a good idea. Their focus should be on crime prevention first and foremost, then on serious crime, then on easy crime.

  5. PB 5

    Our small town community policeman passes me each day on the way to work leaving the small town in which he is stationed, to work in a larger, whiter, community. Both towns are remarkably under served in a policing sense but I don’t blame the police it is the cutting, the continual cutting, to resources.

    It is no surprise. The same occurs in CYF, changing the name won’t help anything, they are largely seen as hopeless here in the Far North but it is the cuts, the continual cuts. The poor social workers are overwhelmed.

    I could add education. The schools work hard doing all sorts of work outside the ambit of education but this whilst dealing with a lack of funding and resources and this year a zero increase in operation grants. Don’t be fooled by ‘targeted’ funding. A crafty trick to move the pittance that it is from low decile schools to higher decile schools.

    It is purely and simply the governments policy to cut social services and in this lots case essential services. Why, because its not money that gets used directly by their voters. As noted above plenty of police in the well off suburbs and towns, bugger the poor and disenfranchised – they simply don’t care and New Zealand has largely, over the last 30 years or so, learned not to care too much either.

  6. tc 6

    Chook meet roost and unlike the shonky banksta none of the remaining cabinet dealers have the consummate bs spin skills johnny boy had.

    Pullya will eventually do or say something that will make collins comeback complete.

  7. Whispering Kate 7

    Two things come to mind with this constant reducing of budgets to the Police – the morale of the police force must, at times, be very low, they try to do the job they’re paid to do with reduced staff and resources, so IMO this will lead to police turning a blind eye to things which they deem unimportant – like burglery and will concentrate on what they’re pressured by the higher upper’s to do – like raiding homes for information which harm the Government. Stuff which make them feel uncomfortable as it really isn’t honest police work. This will just breed resentment and create even lower morale.

    In history it is known that Government’s own security forces will eventually turn on them in the end if they are pissed off enough.

    The other thing which comes to mind, people will form their own police forces and become vigilantes. There are plenty of disgruntled unemployed who eventually will be only too happy to mete out their own justice. End game – anarchy for our society.

    All our Government Institutions must be experiencing very low morale these days – it doesn’t bode well for the future if things are privatised – Serco for one thing – what a mess that has been.

  8. Goodshepherd 8

    In my discussions with police they’ve all told me were it not for the needs and problems of the mentally unwell living in our communities police would have the personnel and resources to combat crime.

    Suicide, attempted or achieved, finding lost elderly and wandering children with autism, seem to be almost a daily occurrence in our area. I don’t suppose the rest of the country is much different.

    And looking for lost confused old or young people involves every available unit to help in the searches.

    I’m told it’s mental health that needs to be much better resourced if we want our police to do what they’re trained to do.

    • Muttonbird 8.1

      Well don’t expect the National government, nor their real-estate addicted and personal responsibility preaching supporters to give a damn about mental health services.

    • saveNZ 8.2

      Yep having effective mental health, family violence and drug treatment centres would probably be the best way to free up police time.

      Also stop making them revenue gatherers on the roads.

  9. NZJester 9

    The National government’s biggest slight of hand when it comes to budgets is to say that they have increased the budgets of the various departments to levels higher than what they received under the last Labour Government.
    While that statement is technically true, it is also false to say they have a bigger budget.
    If you take the current budgets they receive and adjust them for inflation since National came to power then compared them to what they received under the last Labour government you will see in real spending power terms the budgets have effectively been cut to a level below the inflation level equivalent of what they received under Labour. The increased prices of good and services, as well as an increase in wages, have not been covered by the increases in their budgets.

  10. Philj 10

    We need to support our police. But in my own recent dealings over minor crime they have not been interested to even record the call. So I am skeptical of the accuracy or validity of police statistics. I bet if you had an informal chat with a police officer on the street you would learn a lot.

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  • Samoa Language Week theme is perfect for the post-COVID-19 journey
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  • New District Court Judge appointed
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