November 06, 2019
Armed patrols asking for trouble in wrong place
An Auckland councillor fears armed police response team cruising the streets of his South Auckland ward will provoke violence.
The special vehicles containing members of the Armed Offenders Squad started patrols yesterday in what police are saying is a pilot programme to stem gun violence in Counties Manukau, Waikato and Christchurch.
Fa'anānā Efeso Collins says historically the police have had a poor relationship with Maori and Pasifika, especially young men, which is likely to be made worse by the presence of armed officers in their streets.
He says none of the explanations the police have given for the controversial pilot stack up, including that it is a response to the Christchurch mosque shootings.
"Well if that was the case then what the police should be doing and the intelligence services is looking out for white supremacists carrying guns because that would be the real response to what happened on the 15th of March. Just putting armed response teams on to the roads of South Auckland is not a way you find white supremacists. Those people have never been picked on," Mr Collins says.
He says the patrols come a week after the release of a Victoria University study showing police hang out in poorer brown suburbs, leading to conflict.
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