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I received this text yesterday. “I'm a police officer of 12 years. Every day I wake up and say what's the point? We have no support from the top dogs. Every day could be the end. You don't feel like anyone cares.”
That was just one of the texts I received yesterday from police officers. Absolutely gutted that yet another call-out had ended in gunfire, death and hospitalisation, on top of the police officer who was targeted by a motorist last night at the night before, as he was laying spikes. I suppose at least we can be thankful that in yesterday's instance, the person who died wasn't one of the police officers, although one is seriously injured in hospital, the other two needed hospital treatment as well.
It's only a matter of time though before another police officer is killed and the officers know that.
I've spoken to so many and received correspondence from so many more over the past few years, who say that they have no confidence in their bosses and no confidence in the community appreciating the job that they do. And so most people have absolutely no idea what goes on, on a day-to-day basis. They try and keep it from their families as well. And there is very little appreciation shown.
This seems to be almost a climate of them and us that's been generated. And you'd have to say that comes from the top when you are engaging with gangs. When you are treating gangs as equals at the table, where does that leave the police officers?
We'll lose that police officer with 12 years experience and valuable experience. Just as we've lost so many officers who have hit that 10-year mark, getting all that experience, all those street smarts. And they become either so disillusioned with the job, or they have pressure put on them by family members to leave the police and get a job where there's a better than even chance they'll make it home at night.
Being exposed to the news cycle all day, every day. I did wonder whether I thought there were more firearms incidents than ever before, simply because I heard about more of them. I was listening to more of the news, but no - figures released Newstalk ZB show there were 287 federal firearm-related call-outs in the Auckland region between March and June 2019.
It's three months.
Nearly 100 a month in 2019.
This year that is up 10%.
It seems like there are more gun battles because there are more. It's not a perception. And what is the Prime Minister's response to the rise in firearms use and violence on the streets and against our cops? She's sticking to the party line that Labour has taken “action quote to try to reduce the access and nature of firearms that are being accessed in the wider community. You'll see that we've moved on licencing. We've removed those weapons that are military style.”
Well, whoopty bloody doo! A fat lot of good that's done for police officers and their safety. And a fat lot of good. It's done for the good people of West Auckland.
Ardern said authorities had been working on getting weapons out of the hands of the criminal fraternity and clamping down on firearms designed to cause mass devastation.
Really? Again, whoopty doo, how would you rate that performance?
Pretending a problem doesn't exist doesn't mean it's just going to go away. Chris Cahill, the Police Association President, says the emphasis on giving young people an alternative to gangs, a pathway away from crime, engaging with gangs is all very well and good, but you have to crack down on the hardened criminals and the Government is dragging the chain on that.
“I totally get why we've got a problem with young people joining gangs and we've got to address it, but that doesn't mean you ignore those deportees from Australia, those long-term gang members have got in New Zealand, that have decided to arm up and put other people at risk. We've got a clamp down on them. Look at firearms prevention orders. A law of that was meant to be introduced before Christmas - we haven't seen it yet. Asset seizure laws were meant to be strengthened before Christmas - we haven't seen it yet. Those are two bits of legislation that the Government should introduce to Parliament this week in response to what we're seeing out there.”
And if they cared about police officers, that's exactly what they would do. It was Chris Cahill talking to Mike Hosking on the Breakfast show this morning.
There have been a couple of high-profile busts where police have clamped down on gangs and seized motorbikes and seized the blinged-out Harley’s and the blinged-out Range Rovers and what have you. We've all seen those. But in the meantime, where does that leave the people in some of the suburbs of West Auckland who are absolutely terrified at what's going on in their streets as the gangs’ care little for anybody else? In their P fueled, testosterone-driven, battle to the death to prove that they are the stronger gang, that they cover more territory, that they own a particular part of Auckland. And that's what they're doing. They're owning it. And seem to be absolutely unabashed about being out in public patches on, guns at the ready, and any collateral damage is neither here nor there.
God, I even saw a couple on ape hangers the other day. Motorbikes with ape hangers! I haven't seen those since Turangi in 1973 for God’s sake. How do you drive an ape hanger on your leisurely summer roady around the twisty roads of the far north? Still, I suppose God’s little pruning fork and all that if you try and take that on a long road trip. But it’s the presence, the strut, the shoulders, back, guns out, and by that I don't mean the biceps, I mean literal guns out. Suns out, guns out and the gangs are taking it to the streets of West Auckland.
Police are hospitalised. Innocent people who have no affiliation to gangs whatsoever, no desire to, who just happened to have had the misfortune of being in the same streets as these morons, are caught up in the crossfire and it seems nobody wants to do anything if they're in a position of power other than to engage with the gangs.
Yeah. How's that working out for you?