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Police reject calls for guns after attack

Monday 14 Jan 2013 5:21 a.m.

Police were reviewing the incident (file pic)

Police were reviewing the incident (file pic)

The country's top cop is rejecting calls for wider arming of police after a mob attack on a Waikato officer.

Sole-charge officer Constable Perry Griffen was assaulted by at least five men while arresting a Kawhia 19-year-old in relation to warrants at the wharf in the Waikato town about 6pm on Friday, police say.

The officer used pepper spray and a Taser, but was hit from behind, knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked by a group of around five people.

He had been carrying a pistol, which was dislodged in the attack, while his radio was taken and his taser was thrown into the water.

The attack has prompted renewed calls from the Police Association for routine arming of police.

But Police Commissioner Peter Marshall disagrees, calling for "cool heads and calm minds".

"This is not a time for political point-scoring exercises," he said.

Ensuring officers were safe on the job was a top priority, but using a firearm as the primary weapon was "not the tactic of choice" for police, Mr Marshall said.

"The use of a firearm as the primary weapon in the Kawhia incident was not appropriate and this was supported by the Kawhia officer and his supervisors."

Police were reviewing the incident to determine whether things could have been done differently.

Meanwhile, Mr Marshall said Const Griffen, who is recovering from serious bruising and grazes at home, is keen to return to work as soon as possible.

A 19-year-old man, his 49-year-old father and a 21-year-old man have been arrested over the attack, and appeared in Hamilton District Court on Saturday facing assault charges.

Police are also asking for the public's help to find a fourth man believed to have been involved.

The man was wearing a blue top or shirt, and was seen running across the road to the wharf and knocking the Const Griffen to the ground early in the attack.

NZN

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