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Reassurance that police won't be permanently armed

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 Mar 2019, 9:52AM
Police Commissioner Mike Bush told Mike Hosking district commanders are the ones who make the call on whether officers should be armed. Photo / File

Reassurance that police won't be permanently armed

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 Mar 2019, 9:52AM

Further assurances from the very top that there are no plans to permanently arm police. 

Frontline officers in Canterbury were armed while they hunted a wanted man. That order's now been lifted with the arrest of the suspect over the weekend.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush told Mike Hosking district commanders are the ones who make the call on whether officers should be armed.

"It's rare but it does occur, it's occurred before [and] it's an exception to the rule, so I do want to reassure everyone that there is no intent for the New Zealand Police to have routine arming."

Bush said the police are well-trained and well-equipped and officers safety is a top priority.

"Making sure our people have the right equipment, the right tactical options, the right training.

However, he said routine arming would be a "big decision that you can never come back from".

"That's not the way we police in New Zeland. We police with the consent of the public, we have a wonderful relationship with the pubic...if we go that way [arming police] it really changes the relationship."

The Police Commissioner said the decision to arm police after the Canterbury incident was the right call to make.

He also acknowledged that anecdotally, incidents like that are on the rise. 

However, Bush said that doesn't mean police need to be armed 24/7.

"If our staff are going to an address where there is a person [who] we believe may have used firearms before or may be a threat, they will decide before they go in whether they carry a full array of tactical options but that's a lot different to routine arming of the police."

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