March 18, 2020
Armed police a breach of public trust
A Waitangi claimant challenging police armed response teams says the Police risk losing the trust of the public through their underhand push towards an armed police force.
Sir Kim Workman says the justification for the teams in Canterbury, Waikato and South Auckland was initially a response to the Christchurch mosque attacks.
But in their first six months, their mission has expanded to encompass ordinary searches, arresting people who have breached bail and even regular traffic stops.
Overseas research shows public confidence will fall, especially where the effect is felt in marginalized communities.
"Members of the public are more likely to use firearms themselves, they're placed at greater risk of being shot, and where the level of trust in our police goes downhill, and we think there needs to be a public discussion about this. We need a forum in which Māori, in particular, can their views on what has happened and why it has happened,' Ta Kim says.
The tribunal will be able to look at the situation through a historical lens, including why New Zealand chose to disarm the police force in 1886 and keep it that way.
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