Police numbers game

With a by-election coming up in December, which will probably include a new party campaigning on law and order, and a general election next year, parties are throwing police numbers around.

Police Minister Judith Collins in a speech to the New Zealand Police Association Annual Conference this week:

The Government has also made significant recent financial investments in policing.  Budget 2016 delivered an extra $299.2 million to Police over the next four years, including $279.9 million to fund pay increases

And of course there are more 600 more officers on the beat than there were in 2009, and advances in technology and strategy have made our police much more efficient.

That said, there is no doubt that demands for Police services have increased considerably and there is pressure on Police resourcing.

I take that very seriously and I have been discussing this with Police and my colleagues for some time.

We’re still working through the numbers but recently the Prime Minister confirmed that the government is likely to increase the number of Police.

Will we see numbers announced before the by-election?

Labour threw down the gauntlet. Oddly it’s not on their website ‘Latest news’ yet (or anywhere that I can see on their website) but Andrew Little also spoke at the conference:

I am committed to lifting police numbers in the first term of a Labour Government.

Today, I am proud to announce that Labour will hire a thousand more Police officers in our first term.

There will be 1,000 more Police officers under a Labour Government I lead.

This will take total officer numbers to 10,000, and it will be enough to bring the Police to population ratio back below the international benchmark of 1 to 500.

We will work with police to prioritise these additional officers on the serious invasive and violent offences like assaults, sexual assaults, burglaries, and robberies, and of course, the scourge that is methamphetamine.

This increase will be fully funded.

We’ll boost the total Police Budget in line with the increase in officer numbers.

That means $180m more a year for policing once all the extra officers are recruited.

Nothing from the Greens website yet.

NZ First have been calling for more police for some time. Winston Peters will address the conference this morning.

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  1. More numbers won’t make any difference if the police still decline to prosecute. Locally store owners are reporting that groups of thieves are quite brazenly stealing from them yet the police don’t really investigate. Nor do they press charges if the culprit is found, they simply offer retailers advice to strengthen security and take out trespass notices. There’s more work and fresh ideas needed here than the government is offering.

  2. For those interested in the Jihadist/Terrorist issue and the like, I’ve taken excerpts from a report done by the ICRS Centre out of the UK and provided a link to the report. It’s fascinating reading and had me thinking of how we can prevent terror or Islamic militancy at home.

    A huge issue is prisons and policing. Both need to be fully state-owned and run in my opinion. The fact that our fair Ms Collins is in control of both hasn’t escaped my attention. Over HALF of radicalisation instances take place in prisons. Our prisons are not being run efficiently or well. In order to prevent radicalisation and domestic terror issues, I hope Ms Collins has effective plans for upping Police resources and making our prisons a more humane, rehabilitation focused place rather than fight-clubs and places we send people to rot. Many Maori in prisons are susceptible to radicalisation due to festering issues. Be interested in people’s thoughts.

    ICSR Report: Criminal Pasts, Terrorist Futures: European Jihadists and the New Crime-Terror Nexus


    This ICSR report is a groundbreaking study on European jihadists and the increasing convergence between criminal and jihadist milieus. It challenges long-held assumptions about radicalization, recruitment, and how to counter terrorism.

    The presence of former criminals in terrorist groups is neither new nor unprecedented. But with Islamic State and the ongoing mobilisation of European jihadists, the phenomenon has become more pronounced, more visible, and more relevant to the ways in which jihadist groups operate. In many European countries, the majority of jihadist foreign fighters are former criminals.

    The purpose of this new report is to describe the nature and dynamics of the crime-terror nexus, and understand what it means. To do so, a multi-lingual team of ICSR researchers compiled a database containing the profiles of 79 recent European jihadists with criminal pasts.

    What we have found is not the merging of criminals and terrorists as organisations but of their social networks, environments, or milieus. Criminal and terrorist groups have come to recruit from the same pool of people, creating (often unintended) synergies and overlaps that have consequences for how individuals radicalise and operate. This is what we call the new crime-terror nexus.

    Radicalisation and Recruitment
    The profiles and pathways in our database suggest that the jihadist narrative – as articulated by the Islamic State – is surprisingly well-aligned with the personal needs and desires of criminals, and that it can be used to condone as well as curtail the continued involvement in crime.
    For up to ten of the individuals in our database, we found evidence for what we termed the ‘redemption narrative’: jihadism offered redemption for crime while satisfying the personal needs and desires that led them to become involved in it, making the ‘jump’ from criminality to terrorism smaller than is commonly perceived.

    Fifty-seven per cent of the individuals in our database (45 out of 79 profiles) had been incarcerated prior to their radicalisation, with sentences ranging from one month to over ten years, for various offences from petty to violent crime. More significantly, at least 27 per cent of those who spent time in prison (12 out of 45 profiles) radicalised there, although the process often continued and intensified after their release.

    Our database highlights different ways in which prisons matter: (1) they are places of vulnerability in which extremists can find plenty of ‘angry young men’ who are ‘ripe’ for radicalisation; (2) they bring together criminals and terrorists, and therefore create opportunities for networking and ‘skills transfers’; and (3) they often leave inmates with few opportunities to re-integrate into society.

    ‘Skills Transfers’
    There are many ‘skills’ that terrorists with criminal pasts may have developed. In particular: (1) individuals with a criminal past tend to have easier access to weapons; (2) they are adept at staying ‘under the radar’ and planning discreet logistics; and (3) their familiarity with violence lowers their (psychological) threshold for becoming involved in terrorist acts.

  3. Part Two of comment above…

    Jihadists not only condone the use of ‘ordinary’ criminality to raise funds, they have argued that doing so is the ideologically correct way of waging ‘jihad’ in the ‘lands of war’. Combined with large numbers of former criminals in their ranks, this will make financing attacks through crime not only possible and legitimate but, increasingly, their first choice.

    Already, up to 40 per cent of terrorist plots in Europe are at least part-financed through ‘petty crime’, especially drug-dealing, theft, robberies, the sale of counterfeit goods, loan fraud, and burglaries. Based on our database, jihadists tend to continue doing what they are familiar with, which means that terrorist financing by criminal means will become more important as the number of former criminals is increasing.

    Re-thinking radicalisation: The emergence of the new crime-terror nexus and its associated dynamics should compel researchers, analysts, and policymakers to re-think long-held ideas about how terror, crime, and radicalisation have to be understood. Being pious is no guarantee that criminal behaviour has stopped, while acting like a ‘gangster’ does not preclude involvement in terrorism.

    Targeting ALL streams of financing: Countering terrorist finance needs to be broadened beyond the banking system to counter all sources of funding, including small-scale and ‘petty crime’, such as drug dealing, theft, robberies, and the trade in counterfeit goods. Not only will doing so help to counter terrorist funding, but also reduce ‘ordinary’ crimes and enable law enforcement agencies to operate a so-called ‘Al Capone approach’.

    Data sharing: Just like the lines between crime and terrorism have become blurred, relevant agencies need to break down institutional silos and become more effective at sharing relevant information across departments and ‘disciplines’. Counter-terrorism, customs, intelligence services, criminal police, and even outside actors need to share information, conduct joint training, and participate in early warning systems.

    New partnerships: More important than before are relationships with civil society and local authorities who know more about communities, local dynamics and relationships, than law enforcement and the intelligence agencies. Another potentially valuable tool are public-private partnerships, because businesses are affected by many of the crimes described in this report, and – in addition to wanting to be seen as good ‘citizens’ – they typically have a commercial interest in countering smuggling, fraud, or the trade in counterfeit goods.

    Report D/L Link: http://icsr.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/ICSR-Report-Criminal-Pasts-Terrorist-Futures-European-Jihadists-and-the-New-Crime-Terror-Nexus.pdf

  4. Ben, some interesting thoughts there. Do you really believe that Police/Corrections Intel and Security Intel are not monitoring this? Let alone NZSIS?

    We can play the Police numbers game for a long time, but the real question is how many is enough. Do we really want to replicate the sort of day to day surveillance that occurs in Russia, China, the USA and UK now?

    Yes we do not have enough Policemen and women out in the streets etc, just as we do not have the front line Community Nurses out there in the homes providing early recognition of child-raising problems. The prevention model used to work in the Health and Police areas but like the teaching profession, they have now lost their common touch with the real people, and have lost their power and incentive to intercede when they see the signs of things going wrong.

    The wider community are also part of the solution by understanding that when you speak up about something that someone is doing that is against normal community standards, you are not “dobbing in a mate”, but exercising an obligation to speak up about unacceptable conduct. If we could persuade people to get involved then we could get a tax reward from not having to pay for so many additional police personnel.


      • Ben, yes, HUMINT is usually more dependable than SIGINT/ELINT. Why? Because all SIGINT is actually created by humans. Its value is that it is available and presupposes that the people concerned believe their conversation is secure. ELINT depends too much on what emanations are being monitored and the collectors’ ability to identify who is the sender and who are the receivers. That is why we/they need to collect all three elements of intelligence. What the West needs to be more clever about is the recognition of and defence against “dizinformazi”.

        • Or Black Propaganda as it’s known in English 🙂 You should follow Malcolm Nance on Twitter. His views are very much in line with your own, and he’s an ex-Company man. He recently wrote a book about this exact topic. I’m waiting for my order to arrive.


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