Volunteers could end up paying the price of police vetting

Press Release – Volunteering New Zealand

Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) expresses its concern today as it is revealed that no concessions have been made by the Law and Order select committee to provide exemptions for not-for-profits under the proposed The Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill.Volunteers could end up paying the price of police vetting Bill

Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) expresses its concern today as it is revealed that no concessions have been made by the Law and Order select committee to provide exemptions for not-for-profits under the proposed The Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill.

If charges for police vetting of volunteers are introduced, they will significantly impact community groups and the services volunteer-involving organisations are able to provide.

“Charges for police vetting will see a sizeable proportion of the voluntary sector in New Zealand suffer financially,” says VNZ Chief Executive, Scott Miller.

Police charging organisations from the Community and Voluntary Sector is inconsistent with the Police’s core duty of providing a wider public good.

Police vetting is a core tool used by volunteer-involving organisations to maintain volunteer and public safety.

VNZ would like to see the National Government ask the select committee to reconsider their recommendation, as they have done with their recent decision on the Health and Safety Bill.

“Ideally a clear exemption system would be implemented, one in which involves little administrative work and minimal costs for community groups.

Community organisations often face a long wait for police checks to be returned, he said, and this Bill may well make the process even more of a challenge.

This is a good time to remember the basic purpose of police checks as they support in keeping volunteers, support staff, the people and the communities they help, safe,” says Miller.

Police vetting is not an option for many volunteer-involving organisations and it is concerning to think where funding may be diverted from to pay a fee for each check.

“A potential Police Commissioner’s exemption does not go far enough to account for the cost community groups will incur if this Bill is passed.

“Ideally, this Bill will be amended to consider supporting and keeping safe, those volunteers, who donate their time and energy.”

Ends

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