Rt Hon Bill English
New Zealand has been ranked the fourth safest country in the world. In my view, that’s not safe enough – we want to make it the safest country.
That’s why earlier this year we announced a $503 million package which unashamedly targets offenders to get them off our streets by providing additional resources to resolve more crime and targeting criminal gangs and organised crime.
The Safer Communities package will provide an extra 1,125 police staff across New Zealand, including 880 sworn police officers. This package provides a clear mandate for sending police to areas we know they’re needed.
Canterbury will receive 70 new police staff over the next four years – with the first new recruits on the beat in November this year. As part of this allocation, Selwyn will join greater Christchurch, Rangiora, Ashburton and Timaru in gaining a 24/7 police presence.
The package also includes a new 24/7 non-emergency police number to make it simpler to report low-level or historic crime, or simply get in touch with your local station at any time of the day. There will be new resources targeted at disrupting and dismantling organised crime, and more specialist investigators in the areas of child protection, sexual assault and family violence.
But it’s not just about the numbers. It’s about results, and this package comes with some challenging targets.
They include police attending at least 98 percent of all home burglaries within 48 hours. They currently attend 96 percent – 86 percent of those within 48 hours. We can do better to help address a crime that is disturbing and invasive.
Here’s a surprising fact: the most common age of an apprehended burglar last year was 16 years old. That’s why police will now put more time, effort and resources into working alongside other agencies with at-risk individuals and communities. We recognise we must intervene more effectively to stop young people offending and prevent them moving on to even more serious crime.
This, together with our three-strikes policy, which ensures the worst repeat criminals receive the maximum allowable sentence with no parole, demonstrates how committed we are to keeping you and your family safe.
We’ve also increased frontline policing by half a million hours a year by investing in new technology. That’s the equivalent of putting about 350 more police on the beat.
Investing more in police will make our communities safer. It will reduce crime and reoffending, and help steer some of our most disadvantaged young people onto a more productive path.
That’s an outcome worth investing in for Canterbury, and for the rest of New Zealand.