New technology to fight crime

Prime Minister Weekly Column 

Last week I attended the celebration of the Chinese New Year here at Parliament, hosted by Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins. The evening was not only a wonderful occasion to mark the beginning of the Year of the Snake, but also a great opportunity to recognise the significant contribution that all of our vibrant ethnic communities make to New Zealand. Also last week Police Minister Anne Tolley and I were pleased to announcethe rollout of new mobile technology to further prevent and tackle crime.

From April this year, over 6,000 frontline Police officers will be issued with smartphones and tablets. Officers will now be able to check offenders’ details, like photographs and bail conditions, where and when they need to, rather than having to drive to a station to access information, or using the Police radio. This means our Police will have more time to focus on stopping crime and protecting communities, and less time each day on administration duties at their desks. An 11-month trial indicated officers would be able to save about 30 minutes each eight-hour shift by using the new technology – working out to about 520,000 hours per year. This is equivalent to about 345 extra frontline Police being more active and visible in our communities. The introduction of mobile technology is part of the National-led Government’s Better Public Services strategy to make taxpayer-funded services, like Police, become more innovative, efficient and focused on what New Zealanders really want and expect.

We all want to see fewer crimes committed. Under our government we have seen consecutive annual falls in the crime rate, which is at its lowest in over 30 years. But we are determined to do more. Our target is to reduce thecrime rate by 15 per cent by 2017. Our drive to reduce crime and create safer communities, while ensuring better value for money for taxpayers, is central to our plan to build a brighter future for all New Zealanders. We remain as committed as ever to building a safer New Zealand, because you and your family deserve to be safe at home, on the streets and in your communities.