April 29, 2020
Armed police patrols off the streets
One of the Waitangi Tribunal claimants seeking an end to the police armed response teams has welcomed the suspension of the programme.
The six-month pilot in south Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury ended on Sunday, and new Police Commissioner Andy Coster says an evaluation should be completed by June.
Lawyer and justice reform advocate Julia Whaipooti says she and fellow claimant Sir Kim Workman have been invited to talk to police as part of that evaluation, and she will make the case why it’s not a good idea to have vehicles full of armed police patrolling poor neighbourhoods.
"I’m glad at least that they've been taken off the road at this time because that hasn't been clear the whole time they have been in place – there has been lots of discussion about it being a pilot, there weren't many details shared, and how they were being used had changed throughout the six months they were on the roads so it's a relief to me they are off the roads and we should do everything we can to keep them off the roads," she says.
Julia Whaipooti says the evaluation should be used to retroactively justify the decision to deploy armed forces into predominantly Māori and Pacific communities.
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