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'We are unashamedly targeting offenders' - PM vows to put hundreds more cops on New Zealand's streets

Prime Minister Bill English has kicked off election year by vowing to put hundreds more police officers on the streets of New Zealand.

Mr English made the promise at his State of the National speech this afternoon at Auckland's Stamford Plaza, ahead of this year's September General Election.

Mr English promised that under a National leadership, 1125 extra police staff, including 880 sworn police officers, will be funded over the next four years.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"Demand for traditional police services is growing, and complex and serious crime is absorbing more police time," he said. 

"The Safer Communities package announced today will enable police to put more time, effort and resources into working alongside other agencies with at-risk individual and communities."

Complex and serious crime is absorbing more police time - Bill English

This will increase the total number of police staff from 11,925 to 13,000 by June 2021.

The package will cost $503 million, and includes a new 24/7 phone number for non emergencies, 80 more police to target organised crime, and the Eagle Helicopter will be available around the clock.

"We are unashamedly targeting offenders to ensure they are off our streets - by providing additional resources for Police to resolve more crime, and target criminal gangs and organised crime," he said.

All police districts will receive extra officers. 

'Focus on youth offending, burglaries and community crime'

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett said 500 officers will go out on the beat and into community policing.

"Those officers will strengthen the emergency response, and focus on youth offending, burglaries and community crime," she said. 

Ms Bennett says the new 24/7 number will make the police force easily accessible to make the "entire community feel connected to them".

"Knowing there's a nearby police presence at all times is something the community expects. We're making a commitment that people in cities, the regions and rural areas will have officers they can call on 24/7."

The new number will be either three digits or an 0800 number. 

Opposition parties Labour and Green joined forces on Sunday to present their State of the Nation speech, a move both parties said is reaffirming their commitment to work together to change the government.

The Prime Minister announces to the media the date for the 2017 General Election. Source: 1 NEWS

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced the date of the General Election for September 23.

Prime Minister Bill English made the announcement in his state of the nation speech today. Source: 1 NEWS