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Police halt recruitment after increased applicants

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Police have put a halt on recruiting after a large increase in applications during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

There are 160 recruits going through the Police College at the moment, and plans to train a further 320 by the end of the year.

But anyone wishing to sign up for a career with the police will now be turned away.

Police deputy chief executive Kaye Ryan says more than 4000 people were at some stage of the recruitment process, and about 600 people were applying to join each month.

"While the increased interest is a positive sign for New Zealand Police, with limited positions to fill we need to be upfront about what this means for those in the recruitment process and those thinking about applying.

"If you're in the pipeline, there will likely be delays. If you go to apply today, you will have to wait."

Recruitment stopped on Monday and is unlikely to restart until next year.

Kaye says the growth in applications was a good thing, and would not have an impact on the number of new officers who graduate from Police College this year.

"We will be continuing to process those already in the pipeline and will keep our current applicants informed.

"We remain on track to deliver our 1800 growth target. We are likely to reopen the pipeline on a district basis when we do so."

Police Association president Chris Cahill says an increase in applications to join police during lockdown was a reflection of the job, and the security that came with it.

"I think we have to factor in the job security that a career like police offers.

"Given the current state of the economy and what people have seen, that will have added to the value seen in a career with the police.

"But it is also a reflection of how popular it has been in the past few years."

Chris says the variety of the job, and the belief you can make a difference in the community, are key reasons people want to join.

Asked about reaching the goal of 1800 new police, Chris says the government would not succeed in reaching 1800 extra police by July, but the growth had still been impressive.

"We know we're over 1200 towards that now, there's another 160 at college and 320 projected to go through before the end of the year, so we're getting close.

"And the attrition rate in police has dropped, so overall we're very happy with where we're heading."

According to the association's most recent numbers from May this year, 1231 extra officers have been added to police since July 2017.

The government had set the target of adding 1800 extra police by the end of July this year, but later said it had two separate goals.

One was the addition of 1800 police overall, and a second was to add 1800 extra police, above and beyond attrition.

Ben Strang/RNZ.

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