Wellington police staff numbers to be cut

BLAIR ENSOR
POLICE REPORTER
Last updated 11:56 04/07/2012
police

Proposed changes are part of a system being rolled out nationwide.

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Non-sworn police staff will be slashed by seven and many more will have to reapply for new jobs as part of a major restructure in the Wellington District .

Superintendent Mike Rusbatch told The Dominion Post this morning non-sworn staff would be reduced from 164 to about 157 when changes were made at the end of this month.

''We'll be moving a lot more than those positions seven around. We'll work with all staff and match them to opportunities we've got. [We're] not planning redundancies, but that's obviously an option if we are unable to marry up staff with the new options that are there.''

Mr Rusbatch said there would be no cuts to frontline staff.

In April it was revealed police were rolling out a new system of "file management centres" nationwide which would deal with most non-urgent complaints and inquiries.

Instead of being required to go to a police station to report crimes like burglaries and thefts, people will do it over the phone and be sent a form.

A month later Commissioner Peter Marshall announced up to 125 police support staff will lose their jobs as they try to fine-tune the number of non-sworn personnel.

The police budget would not be cut next financial year but they needed to make reductions to live within their means, Mr Marshall said.

Cost Centre managers had to find savings of three per cent in their operational budget, and four per cent in their non-sworn personnel budget before the end of the year.

Mr Rusbatch said changes to the Wellington District were positive and would make police more efficient and effective.

More details about the restructure would be made available later this month, he said.

''The financial environment we are in we are actually after a twin benefit  providing a better service and at the same time we need to live within our means.''

''The changes actually result in providing a better service to the public. It provides better support to our front-line staff and investigators, which enables them to spend less time in the office doing support functions and actually more time on the street preventing crime.''

Earlier this year Police Association president Greg O'Connor said cuts to non-sworn staff would reduce the number of hours frontline police could spend out on the street.

Police risked a repeat of high- profile failures like uninvestigated child abuse files, a slow response to the P epidemic, and the disappearance of Iraena Asher, which followed "budget squeezes" in the late 1990s, Mr O'Connor said.

He could not be reached for comment this morning.

Are you affected by the staff cuts? Contact Blair Ensor at blair.ensor@dompost.co.nz

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Contact Blair Ensor
Police reporter
Email: blair.ensor@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @blairensor

- The Dominion Post

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