I’ve changed my mind about the police trialling these new armed response teams.
My first reaction was worry. I think a lot of people would’ve felt the same.
A six month trial of armed police in SUVs in South Auckland, Cantebury and Waikato? It makes you worry that this is just one step away from the routine arming of police, from all of our officers packing a Glock on their hips.
But the more I’ve looked at this, the more I think it’s (a) quite restrained and (b) probably necessary given what the crims are packing these days.
So, (a) restrained:
We’re not talking about cops in SUVs patrolling the streets of South Auckland, Canterbury, and Waikato looking for a fight.
We’re talking about armed up police, sitting at the station, waiting to be deployed. That’s the assurance the Police Minister’s given us.
These guys would be deployed anyway if a crim pulls a gun, or if a warrant needs to be executed and they’re a bit worried that there might be guns there, these guys would be deployed anyway.
But under this trial, instead of getting the cops back to the station, geared up and then sending them out, they’re already ready to go, and that might be crucial time saved.
(b) I think it’s probably necessary now. The landscape’s changed.
I’m not sure that we fully understand the long term impacts of the Australian deportations on our country. The class of criminal that Australia is sending here, by all accounts, makes our gangs look tame.
These guys hold gun fights in mall car parks in Australia. They’ve come here, set up a chapter of the Comancheros and suddenly we’ve got Comancheros linked criminals executing a couple in the in the street in South Auckland.
These are guys are next-level nasty, so I don’t blame the police for wanting to take a gun to a gun fight.
Having said that, I still think it probably inevitable that we will end up arming all our police, and this is just another step in that direction. But it’s been coming for a while, hasn’t it?
Putting guns in the boot was a step eight years ago. Canterbury police arming up all frontline officers while they hunted down a criminal on the run earlier this year, that was another step. Now this trial.
But can you argue against it, given that police turn up 200 incidents a month where guns are involved? I don’t think you can.