New Zealand plans to recruit Chinese-speaking police officers from Singapore because the South Pacific country does not have enough to meet the needs of its fast-growing Asian population, a newspaper reported Thursday. ( dpa )
A spokesman for Police Minister Annette King told the New Zealand Herald that discussions had been held, though a final decision had not been made.
"If that happened, we'd be recruiting very experienced police who could speak Chinese," the spokesman said.
The paper said that police commissioners of the two countries had reached an agreement in principle for New Zealand to recruit officers from Singapore.
" Singapore has a similar-size force serving the same population, and also their policing ethos is remarkably similar to ours," said Inspector John Mitchell, police development manager for New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, where many Asian immigrants have settled.
"Being from a multicultural city, Singaporean police officers will also have the language and cultural understanding capabilities to help improve our Asian responsiveness."
New Zealand has been recruiting police from Britain as part of a government drive to expand the force by 1,000 officers nationwide.
Currently, only 1.6 per cent of police staff are of Asian descent, and the Asian population is forecast to reach nearly 800,000 by 2026.
New Zealand's current population is 4.1 million people.