Police Association fears overworked Northland staff will struggle over Christmas
Police are worried about the impact Christmas will have on officers who are already stretched thin across the Northland region.
Police Association president Chris Cahill said many were feeling pressure due to a lack of resources, and wouldn't be able to have a proper break.
"Staff have large amounts of unused leave and overtime, and we're heading into that busy period where Northland gets an influx of visitors and tourists," he said.
"There's a real risk that the burden is just becoming a bit too much for staff up there to handle."
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Northland deployment manager Al Symonds said extra staff would be brought in from Auckland to deal with demand over the holiday period.
"As in previous years, we have a significant amount of support coming from the Auckland Metro area to Northland over Christmas and New Year," he said.
"Additional to this, we have Auckland road policing staff who will be assisting us over this busy period."
Six new permanent positions were recently created in Northland, and relief staff have also been deployed for major operations and to clear the backlog of child protection files.
But Cahill said that was only scratching the surface of what was needed across the region.
"We clearly need more staff based in Northland long-term."
The association wants to see an extra 1000 frontline officers across the country.
Cahill said it was too early to say how many of those should be in Northland, but said each region should be assessed based on its needs.
He was urging officers to take care of themselves over Christmas and be prepared for heightened stress levels.
"Their families are seeing less of them, they're having less time off, and it certainly doesn't make for a relaxing holiday period."
Cahill said staff should make proper use of downtime, and turn off their work phones to avoid temptation to check police messages.
He also said they should keep proper track of overtime.