Minister takes umbrage at MP's claims

Last updated 05:00 24/05/2013

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Police Minister Anne Tolley says her Labour counterpart's comments on the force are nothing but desperate scare tactics.

This week Kris Faafoi told the Taranaki Daily News public confidence in the police was dropping and said he was concerned about senior officers leaving the force around New Zealand.

But Mrs Tolley said Labour should stop undermining the police and scaremongering.

"The truth is, the facts don't suit them," she said.

"Under Labour, crime was rising. Under National, it has fallen in each of the last three years, with recorded crimes down a total of 16.7 per cent and down 10.7 per cent last year in New Plymouth."

She said last year there was a 70 per cent increase in foot patrols, and an extra 600 frontline police.

"And let's not forget our investment in a brand new police station for New Plymouth which is currently under construction.

"So there are now more cops, spending more time, in the right places preventing crime before it happens."

She said things would improve even further when 6000 smartphones and tablets were rolled out to frontline officers.

The rollout would result in an extra half a million frontline hours every year, as officers would not need to go back to stations to input and access data.

"No wonder that public confidence in our police is at a record high, and I know New Zealanders will see through the desperate scare tactics from Labour."

Mr Faafoi's comments came in the wake of revelations New Plymouth police have lost or are losing more than a dozen highly experienced staff.

Departed former CIB boss Grant Coward has also taken a parting swipe, saying changes including budget cuts and new systems are eroding public confidence and frustrating officers.

But Mrs Tolley said national attrition rates in the police force were extremely low.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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