Police one step closer to being armed full-time
Wed, 13 Oct 2010 6:01p.m.
By Patrick Gower
Police guns will no longer be locked away in the station – they’ll be out on the streets.
The Government has given its support to guns being carried in lock-boxes, in every frontline car.
Officers are likely to wear holsters full-time, so they’re ready to load and draw.
A number of police officers have been shot doing their jobs, where offenders had guns and they did not.
Now, the Government wants to see that changed.
“I think it’s very important we give our police the power to use their discretion, because they are on the ground. They have to make a decision on what they know,” says Police Minister Judith Collins.
She wants gun “lock-boxes” in every car.
They will hold up to two Glock pistols and two bushmaster rifles.
Ms Collins says the change is likely to occur “relatively soon”.
“It’s probably a matter of months,” she says.
Police guns are currently kept at the station or in the car’s of some senior officers.
Police have 1085 Bushmasters and 1613 Glocks. They’ll be shifted out to over 2700 cars.
“It’s not a victory, it’s an acceptance that nine police officers shot in two years is unacceptable,” says Police Association spokesman Greg O’Connor.
But the father of a police officer shot on duty in South Auckland says it’s not enough.
“They’re locked in the cars,” says David Snow, whose son Constable Jeremy Snow was shot three times as he and a colleague approached a car with its hazard lights flashing.
“By the time you go to the car and get a key out, unlock the gun, the situation is over and it’s all too late.”
Ms Collins doesn’t want police carrying guns in shopping malls or at schools. So while police on the beat won’t be routinely armed, they’ll likely wear empty holsters.
“Members need holsters. If there’s going to be lockboxes in the car, it’s go to be immediate access,” says Mr O’Connor.
Ms Collins is unapologetic to those who appose police having more access to guns.
“The law abiding community wouldn’t have any problem at all supporting the New Zealand police keeping safe,” she says.
“Those who don’t support New Zealand police being safe… actually I don’t care what they think.”
The real debate here is about whether police should be armed all the time. Ms Collins hasn’t gone all the way, but it’s a significant step in that direction and a signal that New Zealand’s history of an un-armed police force may soon be just that.
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27/12/2011 1:24:23 p.m.
22/05/2011 3:33:32 p.m.
I think that it is an issue that police have been shot.I do not agree with police being armed with guns, maybe in lock boxes in every car.Its awfull that it has got to this stage but fighting violence with violence?Surely there are alternative practices, or training that can be taught and practised by the police force? one issue that could be sorted straight away is having police on duty in pairs and not alone?If we are to arm the police with firearms are criminals going to arm themselves more?will it not cause more fear?If criminals arm themselves there will be more deaths, innocent ones also? Will it not bring about reason for public to arm themselves as criminals will be more dangerous?Do we really want a country living in threatening violence and fear?I certainly dont.
2/11/2010 10:45:42 a.m.
it was going to happen sooner or later. the crims are getting guns so the cops do need someting to defend themselves with other then a baton and mace.
15/10/2010 6:36:30 a.m.
The Police commissioner will be responsible for guns on the streets..You are all just the bag of terrorist for allowing guns on our streets without trying other angles..We do have an Army base, Royal Navy to Airforce they withhold the guns if the community needs help to gun down the criminals..Stop waisting our tax money and have the Army Force to search the whole of New Zealand for the criminals..You people destryoyed our country, re-think and get real..
14/10/2010 2:11:10 p.m.
O'connor sounds like he'd have all police, even on traffic patrol fully armed (sub-machine guns ?).. I thought their first priority was to protect the public.. starting to sound like "shoot first & ask questions later" is the next option ? I say its time to take a deep breath & look at why these police officers are being shot at. The last few were over a small cannabis 'offence'.. maybe its time to take the recommendations of the law comm. seriously & change these laws, instead of ZERO-TOLERANCE... Minister Collins. Kia-ora
14/10/2010 8:57:00 a.m.
New zealand progress is like watching a brown slug moving across the lawn ,we all know that sooner ,or later, the police will have to carry firearms ..but watching the progress is OHHH so painful,No we are not a different,or a special little country ,,Get On With It.
14/10/2010 8:23:39 a.m.
Routinely arming the police causes a spiral of violence. Where the police are not routinely armed, a proportion of criminals will not arm themselves (since, for example, armed robbery often carries a higher sentence than robbery). Once the police are armed, criminals who do not match their capability operate under a strong disadvantage. Therefore, when the police become routinely armed, the criminal world fully arms itself in response.
The mere fact of increased weapons possession (by both police and criminals) will in itself result in higher use, since in circumstances where arms may not be currently used (e.g. a police chase), either side carrying weapons will mean that they consider a shooting option which they did not formerly possess. This effectively reduces the options currently available, for example the police are less likely to use less harmful alternatives such as “stun guns”, CS spray, negotiation, etc.
14/10/2010 7:05:02 a.m.
I understand that the Police need to protect themselves but my worry is that some officers would lack the judgement to know when to keep their guns away. In fact earlier thisn year when rowdy teenagers threw bottles at Police at an out of control party in Auckland, the Secretayr of the Police Association indicated that if Police had access to firearms the outcome would have been different.
14/10/2010 12:02:41 a.m.
Guns locked in trunk of police car in a box,is just as good having smoke alarms without batteries.If a maniac was going to shoot a cop,he would have that time where a cop has to go to the boot of the car and unlock the case to retrieve the gun.by that time the offender has shot the cop and made a runner.Or perhaps let the police carry guns at all times as long as they dont carry bullets,This is what the minister of police is trying to tell us.
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