Like DPF, I'm outraged to hear that the police are sending letters to victims of crime telling them that their cases will not be investigated. Unlike DPF, I'm willing to lay the blame squarely where it belongs: with the National government of the 90's. Like our schools and hospitals, the police were subjected to the "shrinking cap" during the 90's. In an effort to reduce government expenditure relative to GDP (and fund tax cuts for the rich), departmental budgets were not increased to keep pace with increased costs or inflation. Instead, core departments - such as the police - were expected to do more and more with less and less. The result was a "hollowing out", a loss of experienced staff, and a decline in the level of service offered to the public. In the case of hospitals, it meant longer and longer waiting lists. In the case of the police, it meant cases such as burglaries being dropped due to being "low priority". And in both cases, the people who suffered were not those who were driving the changes (and enjoying those tax breaks), but ordinary people who couldn't get a hip operation or find out who had stolen their TV.
This sort of damage cannot be repaired overight. Instead, it requires a sustained increase in funding to make up the lost ground. Labour has delivered to some extent - police funding has increased by over $120 million, or roughly 5% in real terms - but when things like the above are happening, it clearly still has some way to go.
As for the right, I find their complaints on the issue fairly hypocritical. They made the mess in the first place, yet have consistently opposed the increases in government spending required to clean it up. Worse, they actively promote a return to the "sinking cap" and further attempts to wring "efficiencies" out of public services (including the police) by deliberate underfunding. So, how would they fix the problem again...?