A record milestone for Maori police officers has been set with the graduation of a new cohort of Police constables today.
“The graduation of Wing 329 from the Royal New Zealand Police College means 150 new Maori Police officers have been trained and deployed in the past twelve months,” says Police Minister Stuart Nash.
“It represents a ten per cent increase in the total number of Maori constables within Police. In the 2018/19 financial year a record 946 applications were received from aspiring Maori police officers, the highest number ever in a single year.
“Police want the same proportion of Maori constables as there are Maori in the general population. They are committed to representing the communities they serve. Maori currently make up around 13 per cent of the Police workforce.
“Sixty new constables graduate today. It includes 24 female officers. There are seven Maori constables, six women and one man. The youngest new officer is 19 and the eldest is 46. They are being deployed from Northland to Southern District.
“An associated training wing, 329/5, has twenty constables training at the non-residential course in Auckland. They will graduate in a fortnight and will be deployed to the wider Auckland area.
“Today’s graduation means 1585 new Police officers have been deployed since the coalition government took office. Many officers graduating today will help make communities safer by removing the most dangerous firearms from circulation in the buy back and amnesty.
“In the first six weeks of the gun buyback there have been around 150 community collection events. Almost 16,000 prohibited firearms have been handed in along with 58,000 prohibited parts such as high capacity magazines. More than 9,800 gun owners have taken part and nearly $30 million in compensation has been paid.
“In addition, more than 1,100 firearms have been seized by Police during operations targeting criminals since March, including major busts in Auckland and Balclutha yesterday.
“Our next set of gun reforms, with a register of firearms and a stricter licensing regime, will help make the job of these new recruits safer. The men and women on the frontline of policing turn up to some callouts with no knowledge of what they are walking into. Every month Police attend 200 incidents where a firearm is involved.
“Every year between 800 and 1000 guns are reported stolen from licensed owners. They disappear onto the black market, many into the hands of gangs. We are taking action to tighten gun laws,” Mr Nash says.
Mr Nash also acknowledged and thanked the wing patron, Fa’amatuainu Tino Pereira, a former broadcaster and a valued advisor to Police and community organisations, for his support and mentoring of the recruits.
The new Police officers have one week’s break before commencing duty on 9 September. They are being deployed to Policing districts as follows:
Northland – 4
Waikato – 9
Bay of Plenty – 8
Eastern – 4
Central – 8
Wellington – 10
Tasman – 1
Canterbury – 10
Southern – 6