No firearms training for 'response' police

Last updated 05:00 20/10/2012

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Police funding cuts have seen sex crime investigation courses slashed and firearms training reduced.

The Police Association's annual conference was told yesterday that not all officers are being trained to use firearms and Tasers.

This followed a report published by the Government's watchdog this week that lashed the force because a funding squeeze meant not enough police had taken part in training courses on handling sex crimes.

The police budget has been frozen and police must find an estimated $400 million over the next four years to compensate.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said frontline officers were trained to use Glock pistols and Tasers.

But those occasionally being asked to work in "response policing" were missing out. This was due to budgetary constraints, he said. Police districts had had 4 per cent and 5 per cent cuts over the past two years.

A 2007 commission of inquiry criticised police after a series of allegations about misconduct were revealed in The Dominion Post.

The Office of the Auditor-General's report into how well police have responded to the inquiry's recommendations noted that 142 police staff who could be investigating sex crimes had not yet received specialist training.

Training for the new Search and Surveillance Act was given priority over training for sexual assault investigations.

Acting Commissioner Viv Rickard said 410 staff had been trained in sexual assault investigation since 2010 and police planned to have all relevant staff through the courses by the end of the year.

Labour police spokesman Kris Faafoi pointed to an increase in sex crimes since 2009 - from 2961 to 3448 this year.

The resolution rate had dropped from 60.9 per cent to 57.5 per cent, he said.

Police Minister Anne Tolley said Labour was "scaremongering and making up figures", and funding levels were maintained in the police budget this year.

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- Fairfax Media

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