Key Points:

Three hundred more police are being promised by National for the streets of Counties Manukau by 2010.

National leader John Key also told a press conference this morning that another 300 would be recruited by the end of 2011 and would be sent to frontline roles.

Of the 600 police to be recruited in total, 220 would be over and above the current Government's planned recruitment programme.

Mr Key said only 21 per cent of the 1000 new sworn offices recruited under the Labour Government had been posted to general frontline duties.

"National would ensure the tail end of the current Government's extra 1000 police would be frontline personnel and we will top up the number with additional recruits each year," he said.

"National believes that the police are stretched too thin. In communities like south Auckland where people are being killed or assaulted as they go about their daily lives police need all the help they can get."

He said despite violent crime rising by 65 per cent in the Counties-Manukau police district in the past nine years, the area had the second lowest police-to-population ratio of any police district.

Mr Key said an extra 25 police patrol cars would be on the streets in south Auckland within two years and an extra 50 by 2011.

The boost would achieve a ratio of one officer for every 500 people in New Zealand and would mean 50 more patrol cars on the streets by 2011, he said.

"Many of the initiatives in this policy will involve refocusing existing police resources on the front line.

"We will also allocate an additional $18.5 million each year to recruit, train, and employ the extra police required, over and above the current recruitment plan, in order to add a total of 600 officers," Mr Key said.

The $18.5 million would be paid for out of new budget spending and the rest would be paid for by " refocusing existing police resources", Mr Key said.

He did not put a dollar figure on the latter cost.

He said National would also:

* Roll out Canterbury's "persistent offender programme", which targets crime families, to other districts if it is successful;

* Encourage police to develop and expand "reassurance policing programmes".

* Ensure police work more closely with local communities;

* Ensure road safety policing concentrates on preventing accidents by focusing on drivers and areas most at risk.

- NZHERALD STAFF and NZPA