New Zealand will have an extra 1800 police officers on the beat after a $300 million cash injection announced today.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed further details around the allocation of the 1800 additional officers, alongside 485 support staff, spread across all 12 policing districts.
It comes after a $298.8m increase for police in Budget 2018.
"Our organisation aspires for New Zealand to be the world's safest country," Bush said.
He said it will help police increase its visibility and presence across the country.
"Today's allocation will significantly build our frontline capability, and lift the level of policing services we deliver to both our urban and regional communities," Bush said.
"This will result in more crime prevention activity and improve police's ability to respond, investigate and resolve crime – including a focus on reducing reoffending.
"The new staff will also support our effort to reduce death and injury on our roads."
Bush says 1280 of the new staff will be deployed to districts, including 200 staff with a specific focus on preventing crime related to gangs and drug-related offending.
A big part of the package is the "unprecedented investment to combat the harm" caused by organised crime, gangs and the supply of methamphetamine.
A further 520 will be national roles aiming to counter high-level organised crime, break national and international drug supply chains and to train, support and coordinate local teams to prevent harm.
They include specialist authorised officers to grow and develop our digital frontline in cybercrime and other specialist areas to reflect modern policing.
District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus has welcomed the 102 officers allocated to Auckland City District. Fifteen positions are already in place, with a further 87 positions still to be recruited.
"This will enable us to improve both our response time and our investigation timeliness, to make sure that people are safe and feel safe in our communities," Malthus said.
Bush said the allocation decisions have taken into account feedback from frontline staff, projected population growth, changing crime patterns, and other priority areas.
"Of course, police work in a dynamic and changing environment, and if the facts on the ground materially change, then we would look at where our resources are required to keep people safe," he added.
District commanders are now starting further work to determine deployment decisions at an area and station level.
"Our communities will benefit greatly through this investment as our staff work to prevent crime, victimisation and help vulnerable people turn their lives around," Bush said.
"There are currently 340 recruits training at The Royal New Zealand Police College, with 80 more starting every four weeks. We have record numbers of applications, but we are still keen to hear from quality applicants."
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said the announcement represents an increase in police constabulary numbers of around 20 per cent.
"We all know that our largest population centres in the big cities have high needs for community safety and crime prevention. But I am particularly gratified that the smaller regions and provinces have been allocated significantly increased police resources under the Commissioner's plan," Peters said.
"Some of our most neglected provincial areas are finally getting the attention and support they deserve."
In Northland, a massive 25 per cent increase in police numbers will make a "huge difference" to combat methamphetamine and improve safety, Peters said.
Provincial towns throughout Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki Whanganui and Manawatu gain between 17 and 27 percent more officers. And 264 new officers will be stationed in rural and urban towns throughout the South Island.
"This investment in frontline policing is an investment in our provinces, our communities and our neighbourhoods," Peters said.
Police Minister Stuart Nash says the move finally allows police to "make real inroads into crime prevention" in order to reduce victimisation, lower reoffending and bring down imprisonment rates.
"To make a real difference we need to focus on crime prevention and community safety," said Nash, who added that he will be seeking further funding in Budget 2019.
"Our neighbourhoods want a greater uniformed presence to prevent and respond to burglaries and aggravated robberies, family harm and child protection, road policing and civil emergencies.
"Our communities want to know police have the tools they need to fight the threat from organised crime. Police need resources to investigate and disrupt transnational drug smuggling, child sex exploitation, cyber-crime and money laundering. That is what we will deliver."
A renewed focus on gangs and disruption of organised crime, which was identified as a priority area in the Coalition Agreement, will "truly make a difference to our communities", Nash said.
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.