Police funding cuts have seen sex crime investigation courses slashed and firearms training reduced.
The Police Association's annual conference was told yesterday 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 sex crime training courses. The police budget has been frozen and the force must find an estimated $400 million over the next four years to compensate.
Police Association president Greg O'Connor said frontline officers working in incident cars 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. "They are the ones we are most concerned about . . . that has got to be fixed."
He said police districts have had 4 and 5 per cent cuts over the last two years.
A 2007 Commission of Inquiry slammed 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.
"This includes 57 staff who might have responsibilities for supervising investigations."
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's police spokesman Kris Faafoi pointed to an increase in sex crimes since 2009 - up from 2961 to 3448 this year. The resolution rate has dropped from 60.9 per cent to 57.5 per cent. He also noted the resolution rate was trending down.
Police Minister Anne Tolley lashed back at Labour saying funding levels were maintained in the police budget this year. Labour was "scaremongering and making up figures", she said.
"The truth is that police, like everyone else, are having to live within their means and are working smarter and better."
But Mr Faafoi said: "If it looks like a cut, feels like a cut and hurts like a cut, chances are it is a cut - and Tolley's wielding the axe." Fairfax NZ
- © Fairfax NZ News
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