A new record has been set for Police numbers with the graduation of 60 new Police officers today.
Police Minister Stuart Nash says the constables from Wing 333 are being deployed to the frontline just in time for the busy summer months.
“Today’s graduation at the Royal New Zealand Police College at Porirua tops a massive year for Police,” Mr Nash said.
“One of the first major Police operations during 2019 was the nationwide response to the Tasman bush fires and evacuation of the town of Wakefield in early February.
“Dozens of officers from outside the district arrived to help, including 37 constables from a new wing of recruits who flew to Nelson the same day they passed their final exams.
“The response to the 15 March terror attack is ongoing for Police. Our firearms buyback and amnesty is removing the most dangerous firearms from circulation. Police have also seized around 1800 firearms from gangs and other offenders since March.
“Ongoing reforms to gun laws, such as the proposed register and tighter licensing requirements, will also make the everyday job of a frontline officer that much safer. Every month Police turn up to around 200 events where a firearm is involved.
“Our thoughts are also with all of those people affected by the Whakaari White Island eruption. From emergency services and other first responders to survivors and the families of those who were killed, we acknowledge that this summer and New Year period will be a painful and difficult time. The Police search continues today.
“Today’s graduation sets a new record for Police. It is the largest ever number of Police to graduate in a single calendar year. During this year 854 new Police were deployed from 14 Police recruit wings in Porirua and Auckland. It beats the previous record set in 2018, when 842 new officers graduated.
“We are training Police at double the rate of previous years. During the nine calendar years between 2009 and 2017, an average of 363 new Police were trained each year.
“During 2019 we also set new records for diversity of the Police workforce. This year 37 per cent of new officers are women, the highest proportion ever.
“More than 17 per cent of our new Police officers this year are Maori, nine per cent are Pasifika, and ten per cent identify as Asian.
“I am proud of them all. I also want to pay special tribute to one of the officers graduating today. Constable Dan Snee is receiving a special award for leadership. Dan has chosen a career in Police ten years after his uncle, Senior Constable Len Snee, died in the Napier siege. Dan will also be posted to Eastern District.
“Today’s graduation means 1885 new Police have graduated since the Coalition Government took office. It equates to fulltime equivalent growth of around 1060 frontline officers,” Mr Nash said.
The new constables will have a one-week break before starting duties in their districts. The wing is being dispersed as follows:
Northland – 2
Waikato – 7
Bay of Plenty – 2
Eastern – 6
Central – 13
Wellington – 17
Tasman – 1
Canterbury – 8
Southern – 4