Wednesday, April 6, 2011

NZ Police: Armed...Or 'armless?

police glock pistolDespite nine officers shot dead in the last two years, our new Police Commissioner says he's not going to arm every NZ police officer.
The Police Assn has called for all front-line police cars to carry handguns, warning last month it would take a person on a shooting spree before the step was taken.
Commissioner Peter Marshall says arming officers will not increase their safety. He says the officers he's spoken to don't want to carry guns: they want greater access to firearms (an important difference).
Marshall says it's likely firearms will be held in more lock boxes in police cars. Last year, the Police Assn was pushing for every front-line patrol car to carry a Glock pistol, in a lock box between driver and passenger. Yes, it's another step closer to permanent arming, but research shows half the force and half the public do want police to be armed all the time. The fact that 50% of both groups don't makes the lock box a good compromise.
Norway is similar in population and policing to NZ (it's the only mainland European country without police fully-armed 24/7), and lock boxes seem to work there. RIP Snr.Constable Lee Snee, May 2009
The way shootings have escalated over the last decade, if something like the lock box is not tried soon, our officers will end up armed anyway – out of self-preservation.
In 2002, NZ introduced laws increasing minimum sentences for police killings from 10 to 17 years, but this has not worked as a deterrent. To be honest, it's hard to know what will.
Arming the police won’t stop these incidents either...but it may give our protectors a bit more protection themselves.

No comments: