NZ First promises elite crime-fighting squad

NZ First leader Winston Peters is promising a new, mobile police taskforce in a bid to stop "rampant lawlessness".
CHRIS SKELTON/STUFF

NZ First leader Winston Peters is promising a new, mobile police taskforce in a bid to stop "rampant lawlessness".

A new team of crime-fighting elites could soon be flying around the country, going wherever there is "rampant lawlessness".

NZ First leader Winston Peters has proposed establishing a "Flying Squad" within NZ Police - a team that can quickly respond to various incidents.

The unit would be made up of 56 police officers and 14 support staff, "targeting criminals and lawlessness all over New Zealand".

The 70-strong 'Flying Squad' would report directly to the Police Commissioner and go wherever it was needed.
SIMON MAUDE/STUFF

The 70-strong 'Flying Squad' would report directly to the Police Commissioner and go wherever it was needed.

Peters announced the plan for the squad at a public meeting in Whangamata on Wednesday.

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The squad would be under the direct command of the Police Commissioner.

"Being self-contained and mobile, it will directly assist communities and police districts by offering a targeted but heavier level of policing when called for," Peters said.

"Rampant outbreaks of lawlessness and organised crime are the focus.

"So is helping communities in trouble with criminals and suffering from crime waves, like burglaries and violence."

The squad would be on-call around the clock, with at least eight officers always on duty.

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Peters said he believed the elite team would make communities, like those in Coromandel, safer.

NZ First also promised to train 1800 extra police as soon as possible.

In Tuesday night's Newshub-Reid Research poll had NZ First at 6 per cent.

Winston Peters was at 6 per cent in the preferred Prime Minister stakes.

Police Association president Chris Cahill said if the squad was staffed by extra police rather than from the existing constabulary then the association was "provisionally supportive".  

"Measures that mean better response rates for the public and an easing of the workload on current police officers are positive for the wellbeing of both." 

Cahill said any operational specifics relating to how and where police officers were deployed must, however, be determined by police and not politicians. 

 - Stuff

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