“The Police Minister Poto Williams needs to explain why her agency has stopped training new recruits when gang recruitment is skyrocketing,” says ACT’s Firearms Law Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“This short-sighted move will mean the gangs are recruiting faster than our own Police.

“A six month delay to training any new frontline officers will put communities at risk at a time when gang numbers have increased by 33 percent and there’s been a 54 percent increase in gang members charged with firearms incidents.

“It doesn’t help when gang members on the National Gang List are given firearms licences to legally purchase firearms and illegally sell them into the black market.

“There’s a real need for more Police to combat escalating gang violence.

“It’s not good enough for Police to point to a low attrition rate as the reason why it has stopped training new officers. 

“The Government promised Kiwis 1800 new officers to help combat violent and organised crime.

“It hasn’t reached that target and the Police Minister must explain to New Zealanders why the Government is now breaking its word.”