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'He's the man that's there': Police union boss coy on Coster's suitability
-Jamie Lyth, NZ Herald
As the new Government makes its expectations for Police clear, the performance of Commissioner Andrew Coster has come into question - with the Police Association describing him as “the man that’s there”.
Last night, National’s new Police Minister Mark Mitchell publicly released a letter of expectations he had agreed to with Coster.
The letter sets out National’s key policies, including those in its first 100 days plan, including gang patch bans and law changes to give police more search powers and stop gang members associating with each other.
Mitchell said earlier today that he has full confidence in Coster, despite his past criticism.
But Police Association President Chris Cahill did not give such an endorsement when asked by Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking whether Coster was still “the man for the job”.
Cahill responded with: “Well he’s the man that’s there and we’ve got to move on.”
Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Commissioner of Police Andrew Coster. Photo / Alex Burton
On the letter itself and the expectations from the new minister, Cahill said he expected mostly positive reactions from ground-level staff.
“I think most frontline cops will be on board with the reset in focus.
“I think they’ll be very enthusiastic, it’s pretty clear now what they want is to get out there and put some pressure on criminals and put some pressure on crime.”
Cahill said the letter showed police were being asked to work less in the prevention area, and more in direct response.
“I think you can’t say that Andrew Coster didn’t have ideas around the prevention space and long-term changes.
“What he’s been told now is that he’s got to focus on the here and now, so I think it’s pretty clear in that letter of expectation that that’s what he’s got to focus on.”
Cahill said the ideas in the letter were good in theory but police need more resources to achieve the goals set out.
“The challenge, of course, is who is going to do all of this if we’re losing cops to Australia.”
Hosking mentioned that the coalition deal promised 500 more police officers, but Cahill said he wasn’t sure what this would look like in reality.
“We’d like to see that word extra, rather than just new.
“We already get 450 new [officers] a year, so that needs to be clarified that it’s extra, not just new.”
Cahill said police need government organisations to do their job in the crime prevention area so police can focus on responding to crime.
“I want to see the letter of expectations going to the CEO of Health [NZ], the CEO of Oranga Tamariki because they’ve got to step in and do their job because it can’t just be police.”
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