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Councils stepping in behind thin blue line

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/06/2016

A "systemic underfunding" of police in communities is leaving local government picking up the slack on minor crimes and security, local councils say.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule says 18 councils from around the country have expressed concerns about a reduction of police available for community problems and are calling for more government funding.

"Many councils have volunteers going out in cars or have funded cameras and other security initiatives," he said.

"In Hastings District the council has spoken with police and while they are restructuring and using new technology, they don't have the capacity for less serious crime and what I call safety issues. There are similar concerns from other communities like Lower Hutt, Napier and Tararua."

He said while the police budget had been increased by $300 million this year, none of the money went towards new recruits.

"Is it actually the role of local government or is this the systemic underfunding of the police that has ended us up in this situation," Mr Yule said.

He said LGNZ would ask the government to increase resources in communities.

But Police Minister Judith Collins said the issue had not been raised with her and was being thrown around in a local government election year.

"Police put their resources where they believe they should be and they are demand-driven. Where there is demand, that's where police numbers are," she said.

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