Organised crime and drugs will be a focus for Bay of Plenty police with 125 new frontline officers earmarked for the district.

New Zealand Police announced the extra staff as part of a three-year rollout and national campaign to add 1800 extra police officers across the country.

Officials won't say how many of the 125 earmarked for the Bay of Plenty district will be allocated to the Western Bay policing area, which includes Tauranga, but say the extra staff will make a significant impact.

Bay of Plenty Neighbourhood Support chairman Les Cresswell said extra police staff were needed because the force was "greatly stretched".


"One of the problems in terms of current staffing levels is that our community constables are often having to be called away to help with other frontline duties," Cresswell said.

"Extra police numbers on our streets is very much welcomed by Neighbourhood Support, which has a long-standing memorandum of understanding with the police," he said.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Ken Evans also applauded the initiative.

"Everyone has known for quite some time that police resourcing has been extremely stretched," Evans said.

"That has not only impacted on response times but the clearance rates for some crimes are extremely low, particularly robberies in the home," he said.

Bay of Plenty police district commander Superintendent Andy McGregor says the extra police staff will make a
Bay of Plenty police district commander Superintendent Andy McGregor says the extra police staff will make a "big impact" on helping to prevent crime. Photo / File

"Our hope is that the extra police numbers will mean police have far more of a presence on our streets and in communities to prevent crimes from happening in the first place.

"We wish police every success in getting our crime rates down significantly," Evans said.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Police Association regional director Scott Thompson said it was pleasing to see that the region had done well out of the extra allocation but some of that was playing "catch up".


"More police means our staff will be safer and ultimately so would the community."

Thompson said it would take time to recruit and train up the new police staff and he hoped extra staffing allocations would happen more often in the future.

Bay of Plenty police district commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said the extra staff would "make a big impact on resourcing the front line and investigations, and targeting organised crime and drugs".

Further staff will be allocated to prevention roles in Youth, Family Harm, Community and Crime and Drug Prevention, he said.

All 12 police district commanders are now working with their leadership teams to make decisions about the deployment numbers at an area and individual station level.

The national numbers will be buoyed by 485 support staff over the three years, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

Bush said the increased officer numbers were based on factors such as population growth, offending patterns and local priorities for crime prevention.

It comes after a $298.8m increase for police in Budget 2018.

Features of the announcement of more police officers include:

• 455 more officers in police frontline emergency response duty.
• 325 more officers in prevention-focused positions – working to help youth, prevent family harm and reduce repeat offending.
• 121 officers to establish new Precision Targeting Teams in every district – to target serious and prolific local offenders to reduce burglary, robbery and other violence.
• 187 new investigators focused on current and historic complex cases, including adult sexual assault and child protection.
• 500 national-level investigators and specialists to focus on organised criminal networks, national security, financial and cyber-crime.
• 146 investigators to make up Serious and Organised Crime Taskforces in every district – supporting local and national-level colleagues.
• 54 new Crime and Drug Prevention Officers – district-based positions working alongside organised crime specialists to provide pathways away from crime and addiction, including for the young and those on the periphery of gang life.
• 12 new permanent roles at the Police College to train and upskill staff.