Ex-cop expresses concern at police budget cuts

A proposal to axe 26 police from the Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit[1] has exposed deep flaws in police management, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says the proposal suggests the police management have lost their way.

A retired road policing officer agrees. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he describes the current police management as being like:

“an overworked fire brigade, pulling staff off one fire to try and extinguish another, allowing the original to flare up again and so on. All this, of course, is determined by the loudest pressure group or politician.”

“Previously the police were under pressure to lower the road toll. Now they’re under pressure to reduce crimes such as burglaries. This constant switching of police priorities inevitably means sworn officers get pulled off other important duties, such as road safety, so that police management can appear to be doing their job. This is an appalling way of managing police resources.”

Many police staff share these concerns, according to Steve Plowman, the former editor of thePolice News. Plowman adds that the government has falsely presented police budget cuts as budget boosts.

The government’s recent ‘boost’ for police funding was widely reported to be $503 million. It was not. Police are getting $388 million over four years, with the Ministry of Justice getting the remaining $115 million.

“In 2010, the Police budget was frozen for five years until last year, when it was given an additional $299 million.  A dozen years ago the Police budget was $1.638 billion. In 2016 it was only $1.56 billion. So, the so-called boost in police budget is, in fact, a cut.”  

Clive Matthew-Wilson agrees, saying:

“Almost everyone, including the trucking industry, opposes any reduction in the policing of trucks.  Police management are trying to justify this move on cost grounds, but the end result is likely to be more dead bodies[2].”



[1] Police management proposes to axe 26 Vehicle Safety Officers in May of this year. These sworn officers are qualified mechanics with extensive commercial vehicle experience, but who have limited authority.

Vehicle Safety Officers currently carry out thorough roadside audits of large commercial vehicles, as well as attending accidents where a commercial vehicle's roadworthiness is in question.

[2] • Trucks make up just 2.5% of the vehicle fleet, yet in 2015, 58 people died in accidents involving trucks. This was close to 20% of all 2015 road deaths.

•  The government is predicting that freight across New Zealand's roads is going to increase by 78% in the next 25 years