New data shows Kiwis waiting longer for police help

New data shows police response times around the country have become remarkably slower under the Labour-led Government.

The stats, obtained by National, show response times to serious crime have blown out in many districts since 2017.

In Auckland, officers arrived in 26 minutes or less 90% of the time in 2017. That time has now jumped out to one hour and 49 minutes this year.

In Northland, the figure has jumped from 31 minutes to one hour and 18 minutes, while in Waikato it's risen from 16 minutes to the best part of an hour.

It was no better in Bay of Plenty, where it has risen from 19 minutes to over 52.

Police Association president Chris Cahill said the data left him "concerned" and he believed the public would also be concerned.

But Police Minister Poto Williams told 1News she wasn't sure what was going on and had no plans to find out.

Williams said she was "not over the detail" despite 1News having sent the details to her office, and described it as an "operational matter to the police".

"I think the questions need to go to the police," she told 1News when questioned about the long response times.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon described Williams as someone "at sea in her portfolio".

"What's really sad here is we're seeing police response times to serious crime doubling. In Auckland it's up 320%."

Police told 1News they were under the pump, with mental health callouts and family harm incidents taking up vast amounts of time. They also said they are and have been stretched for numbers with officers catching Covid-19 and manning MIQ.

"Since October 2017 the volume of family harm related incidents has increased by more than 50% and the attended mental health events by 50%. This increase has been particularly noticeable since the first Covid-19 lockdown period in March 2020," Deputy Commissioner Glenn Dunbier said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Thursday, that response from the Police Minister to 1News was the subject of multiple questions to the Government by the National Party at Parliament.

National’s deputy leader Nicola Willis asking the Prime Minister this: “Is it the Prime Minister’s position that the Minister of Police should take no interest in police operational matters relating to how long it takes for a New Zealander to get a police officer to come and see them when the report a crime?”

On behalf of the Prime Minster, Labour’s Grant Robertson responded that, “the Minister of Police has the responsibility, the job of overseeing the police portfolio which means hey have the resources they need to do the job.”

Following 1 News’ coverage, on Thursday, Minster Williams received a briefing from police about the delays.

“The emergency response times have remained relatively stable and I’m confident that once we’re through the worst of Omicron we will be returning to normal wait times,” she said.

She said the big delays were in responses to priority two crimes.

“Some of the spikes that we’re seeing are also in the areas of dealing with family harm.”

Police also provided the following figures to 1News which show the median response times across the country for priority one incidents only over the last four years.

Police Deputy Commissioner Glenn Dunbier told 1News that when it came to responses in urban areas they’d become 40 seconds slower over five years.

“What that tells me is that when police need to be there we will be in much the same timely manner as we have over the last five or six years,” he said.

Priority one events are where there is an actual threat to life or property happening now, it’s a serious offence where violence is being used or threatened, or a vehicle incident with injuries.

Priority two events include incidents where offenders present but not violent, or there is suspicious activity not involving threat to any person, vehicle crashes but no serious injury, public order disturbance, distressed informant/victim, sudden deaths, evidence present and may be lost.