Police wages fund topped up but no money for new recruitment

There's new money in the Budget for police - but it's not there to pay for more officers to solve crimes.
FAIRFAX NZ

There's new money in the Budget for police - but it's not there to pay for more officers to solve crimes.

There's more money for police in the Budget but no extra boots on the ground.

The $299 million new cash injection for police from the Government's $837 million Justice package is set to be chewed up by wages.

But the new money does not mean more crime-fighters out on our streets catching criminals.

Police Minister Judith Collins says the new cash for police in the latest Budget is not for new recruits.
HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES

Police Minister Judith Collins says the new cash for police in the latest Budget is not for new recruits.

A total $279.9 million of it is to be spent on police pay increases, on top of another $30.6m for that fund this February.

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Since June 2011 the crime rate has fallen by 16 per cent.

The majority of the cash in the Budget was earmarked to meet the police union's negotiated wage increase of 2 per cent annually for the next three years - not for new recruits, Police Minister Judith Collins said.

However police had advised Collins there was provision for "a few new staff" to work with the Child Protection Offender Register when it is launched later this year.

Police would also be taking into account the impact of an ageing workforce and recruitment was actively targeting 18 –29 year olds, she added.

The Police Association represents 8,600 constabulary and 2,300 police employees out of the 12,500-strong ranks. 

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President Greg O'Connor labelled the Budget "status quo," saying the Association was nonetheless pleased to see police could stop raiding their crime-fighting budget to pay officers and absorb inflation.

"Operational Commanders will be disappointed that there will be no significant new operational funding to enable them to deliver essential policing services, but will be relieved that they will not have to continue to absorb natural increases such as wages."

 - Stuff

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