A new-look Police graduation ceremony to take account of COVID19 health rules has marked the completion of training for 57 new constables.
Police Minister Stuart Nash attended this afternoon’s ceremony, where officers of Recruit Wing 337 were formally sworn in at the Royal New Zealand Police College without the normal support of their family and friends as witnesses.
“Police officers made a number of personal sacrifices during the lockdown. Many chose to live away from their families during Alert Level 4 in order to protect those at home from the risk of infection Police may have been exposed to on the frontline, said Mr Nash.
“Today’s graduation was also marked by personal sacrifice for officers and their families. It was a heavily modified occasion, without handshakes, without the usual large crowd of whanau and friends, and with appropriate physical distancing.
“The 57 recruits are being deployed all over New Zealand and commence frontline duties on Monday 15 June. They will be Policing in an environment very different from the society they knew at the time they commenced training on 3 February.
“The impacts of the global pandemic not only incur a personal cost for individual Police officers but also a financial cost for the wider organisation. The anticipated cost of the COVID19 response for Police is $124 million, largely from the need to purchase personal protective equipment and to cancel annual leave.
“Today’s graduation also continues to enhance the diversity of the Police frontline. Forty-five percent of the new officers are female, 19 percent are Maori, seven percent are Pasifika, and 12 percent are Asian. The youngest is 19 years old and the eldest is 47.
“There are now 10,072 fulltime officers in Police, an increase of around 14 per cent since the start of the 2017/18 financial year. Since the coalition government was elected, 2,159 new Police officers have successfully graduated and been deployed all over the country.
“Police had a difficult and challenging role during the COVID19 lockdown and exposed themselves to much risk in the name of public safety and crime prevention. They have my thanks and the new officers of Recruit Wing 337 have my best wishes for a successful career ahead,” said Mr Nash.