The Press on arming the Police

December 28th, 2012 at 8:43 am by David Farrar

The Press editorial:

The year is coming to a bad conclusion with no fewer than five serious attacks on officers. In the most serious incident, in Northland, an officer was beaten unconscious and kicked and pummelled as he lay on the ground. One of his assailants attempted to use his Taser stun gun on him but could not get it to work. A witness later told the that she feared the officer would be killed. In another incident, in Huntly, an officer was king-hit by a man from a drunken mob as the officer attempted to make an arrest after a boy-racer complaint. In a third incident, a young woman officer attending a family violence complaint had her ankle broken so badly it required surgery.

After such a spate of incidents it is understandable that the frontline officers’ union should call for all officers to carry guns. It is understandable but it is also faulty.

It goes without saying that assaults on police officers are deplorable and everything possible should be done that might deter them. But to allow officers routinely to carry weapons would be to cross the Rubicon in law enforcement in New Zealand. It would subtly but fundamentally alter the relationship between the police and the public with insufficient gain in safety to both to justify it.

I agree that we should resist the general arming of the Police. I think having firearms available in all vehicles is sadly necessary and should be done. But I don’t think the case has been made for the general arming of all Police.

However it is fair to say, that such a day may come in the future. If the level of violence against Police officers increases, there will be a point at which a change in policy may have to be considered.

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100 Responses to “The Press on arming the Police”

  1. nasska (11,169 comments) says:

    A point worth considering before we rush down the path of police being armed at all times was made by a senior officer after the Dargaville incident. He/she reasonably argued that although one of the assailants took a Taser from the downed policeman & attempted to fire it at him, had the weapon had been a sidearm the outcome would have probably been worse.

    Realistically there is little that will prevent such incidents at remote locations where police are vastly outnumbered & with no ready backup.

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  2. contheneo (27 comments) says:

    Surely one step in the right direction would be for the penalties for assaulting a Police Officer to be increased. Or at least make sure that the current penalties are being utilised to their full extent.

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  3. kowtow (8,184 comments) says:

    This country has a large and growing feral underclass. Welfarism and treatyism is at the geart of the problem. It will only get worse.

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  4. Ancient Dan (46 comments) says:

    I am in Australia where all police are armed as a matter of course
    It leads to some sad incidents
    Where police fear from their lives from unarmed people but have no other recourse
    but to fire a weapon in self defence.
    Tasers are useful and provide defence without necessarily killing the assailant but there have been a few incidents where this has led to the death of the offender.

    What I suggest is one of those brilliant Kiwi inventions the Deer gun

    It seems you can fire this thing from a helicopter and immobilise a running stag pelting along the side of a mountain
    If police had access to this net gun they could fire the gun and have the miscreants harmless and nicely parcelled up ready for transport to the station

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  5. MT_Tinman (3,097 comments) says:

    Police personnel have told me more than once that virtually every police car carries firearms so no change needed.

    It would seriously concern me should the current crop of rather gung-ho young people, many of whom have a rather jaundiced view of the general public and their (the public’s) desire to enjoy themselves every now and then, be allowed to carry guns while performing normal duties.

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  6. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    I say arm the Police with visible pistols, decent ones not just toys. So a few maggots will get killed, so what? it takes them out of the gene pool. The growing feral underclass that kowtow mentions is very real.
    The Police do not shoot at me, why is that? Prbably because I am not a dysfunctional criminal arsewipe

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  7. berend (1,699 comments) says:

    So police offers who are threatened can be armed to defend themselves, but the general population, when threatened and seconds count, has to wait minutes for the police.

    Yeah right.

    Our police should not be armed until all honest citizens are able to arm themselves.

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  8. Paulus (2,602 comments) says:

    Imagine everytime a person is shot the media outcry for “justice”.
    Then it will become a Lawyer’s paradise claiming the offenderis “being owed”, against the “police state”.
    The Australian police are much more (physically) stringent against offenders, who avoid them, as they have strong approach, not found here.
    We are PC in our approach, the Aussie Police are not so.
    No general arming please, as it will only make the situation worse.

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  9. Dexter (287 comments) says:

    “So police offers who are threatened can be armed to defend themselves, but the general population, when threatened and seconds count, has to wait minutes for the police.”

    Because the ‘honest’ citizens are the one who send Police into harms way while they can remove themselves from the situation. The Police don’t have that luxury.

    And I think America is a great example why arming ‘honest citizens’ isn’t a good idea.

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  10. berend (1,699 comments) says:

    Dexter: Because the ‘honest’ citizens are the one who send Police into harms way

    Great to hear we have no honest citizens threatened, raped, killed in our streets and homes.

    Dexter: And I think America is a great example why arming ‘honest citizens’ isn’t a good idea.

    Not sure what this means. A murderer is not an honest citizen. If you believe outlawing guns work, I suggest you simply outlaw murder. That’s just as effective.

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  11. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    As long as the police are between the author and the violent offenders he is happy.

    Take the cops away and lets see what he thinks.

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  12. Dexter (287 comments) says:

    “Great to hear we have no honest citizens threatened, raped, killed in our streets and homes.”

    A great deal less than we would have if our general populace was armed.

    If you believe that liberal gun laws would result in only ‘honest citizen’s’ being armed and not criminals, you are truly naive.

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  13. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    Violent offenders are feral scum, shoot the bastards, warning shot right between the eyes

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  14. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    Wild aggessive animals deserve nothing less than a bullet

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  15. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    If police had access to this net gun they could fire the gun and have the miscreants harmless and nicely parcelled up ready for transport to the station

    I’ve yet to hear of an example of a net gun that fits in a holster.

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  16. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    Police personnel have told me more than once that virtually every police car carries firearms so no change needed.

    Yes, but the process required to access the gun is absurdly bureaucratic. There’s no way police should be filling in paperwork for 10 minutes before they can access proper weaponry!

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  17. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    And I think America is a great example why arming ‘honest citizens’ isn’t a good idea.

    Not sure if you are referring to the many examples of gunmen stopped by honesst citizens with guns, or to the higher gun violence in areas that have greater gun control.

    In America, you can always assume that the bad guy has a gun. Taking guns off honest citizens merely makes them more vulnerable. Here, that’s not the case.

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  18. BlairM (2,314 comments) says:

    A point worth considering before we rush down the path of police being armed at all times was made by a senior officer after the Dargaville incident. He/she reasonably argued that although one of the assailants took a Taser from the downed policeman & attempted to fire it at him, had the weapon had been a sidearm the outcome would have probably been worse.

    I put it to you that the Dargaville incident in its entirety would not have happened with either armed police or an armed citizenry. There is little risk of death from a taser, but plenty in trying to take a gun off a cop. Try that shit here in Texas, see if you live to tell the tale, and see if anyone feels sorry for you if you don’t.

    I think honest citizens do a fantastic job here in the United States, and when you consider that there are 200 million guns owned mostly by honest citizens, the level of gun crime and gun accidents is very low. Far more people drown in swimming pools than get shot.

    New Zealand is long overdue for legislation affirming the right to defend person and property.

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  19. Australis (100 comments) says:

    The argument seems to run that if all police carried guns at all times then no police would be assaulted at any time.

    I doubt this hypothesis is consistent with the empirical research. Are Australian and US police subject to fewer assaults than New Zealand counterparts? When assaults to armed policemen do occur, are they more likely to be lethal?

    Above all, if the police routinely tote fireams will the villains do likewise? Are there more armed miscreants in Australia and USA than in UK or New Zealand?

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  20. berend (1,699 comments) says:

    Dexter: If you believe that liberal gun laws would result in only ‘honest citizen’s’ being armed and not criminals, you are truly naive.

    Did you read my post? It’s your gun laws that cause only criminals to be armed.

    How many people in NZ die every year to violent home invasions? You don’t want to give them the ability to defend themselves.

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  21. 2boyz (257 comments) says:

    Can you imagine some snot nosed 20 year old fresh out of police college hopped up on testosterone and their own self importance being armed with a high powered pistol, I can and the outcome would not be pretty. That said any scumbag that attacks the police or anyone for that matter should be dealt with as hashly as the law allows.

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  22. Dexter (287 comments) says:

    “How many people in NZ die every year to violent home invasions? You don’t want to give them the ability to defend themselves.”

    Why don’t you tell us?

    Criminals aren’t routinely armed in this country, in fact it’s very rare, liberalizing gun laws would mean that they would routinely carry guns, homicides would vastly increase, so you would have to make a case that our current homicide rate is so out of control that citizens need firearms.

    “the level of gun crime and gun accidents is very low. Far more people drown in swimming pools than get shot.”

    Might need to check your statistics Blair, 3000 annual drownings vs 32,000 gun deaths.

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  23. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    Criminals aren’t routinely armed in this country, in fact it’s very rare, liberalizing gun laws would mean that they would routinely carry guns…

    Sounds like a good argument for not arming the Police. Was that the point you were attempting to make?

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  24. duggledog (1,504 comments) says:

    Kowtow

    Add to that a couple of generations who have grown up now without any real form of discipline in school, and now the new generation who are growing up without any effective discipline at home either, thanks to Sue Bradford’s mischief. Kids that know full well there’s really not much the adult world can throw at them

    Add to that these kids are being / have been brainwashed by the happy clappy teachers to think that there are no losers, everybody’s a winner and you can be whatever you want to be.

    It all adds up to disappointment, no boundaries, no self responsibility and bitter resentment as fomented by Harawira, Jackson et al, in a country that hundreds of millions of people would do anything to get residency in

    I think it’s going to get way, way worse

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  25. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    duggledog – lack discipline at school isn’t the problem, most of the discipline problems come from the home – and it’s not a lack of discipline that’s the biggest problem it’s discipline be violence that teaches kids to become violent adults.

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  26. Azeraph (604 comments) says:

    What about a small rubber truncheon? They could call it the Daldo or the John key, either way it will get laughed at but it might make the difference when a cop is in a bad situation. What the hell is going on out there?

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  27. Redbaiter (8,332 comments) says:

    “What the hell is going on out there?”

    It is the brave new world of the Progressives.

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  28. HB (303 comments) says:

    I don’t think schools lack discipline. I think we do rather well considering the tools we have.
    The problems mostly come from kids who are allowed to do what they want. Their parents let them run free.
    I have seen students wandering around town after 10 at night and I know (because they are quite open about it) that they drink, smoke weed and get up to mischief. Their parents are aware of it and don’t care. The worst parents however, are those that enable their children to wag. They will write notes saying they are ‘sick’. Some even do it because they are lonely and want company at home or for cheap childcare. We can notify truancy services who may do a CYFs notification and there it ends because CYFs are useless. Some of these kids have attendance of less than 80%. In our school community most parents work so it isn’t a welfare issue.

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  29. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    As long as the police are between the author and the violent offenders he is happy.

    Take the cops away and lets see what he thinks.

    No problem. Provided that we too can have guns and tasers for our own protection.

    Are those of you, who want to Police to carry guns, really happy to have Police shoot dead teenage party goers who resist them ?

    Because that is what you are suggesting. It is not about “arming Police” it is about Police shooting dead those who resist. That is the cold hard reality of what you are advocating. Maybe some of you have kids yourselves. How would you feel if your kid had a few drinks, got caught up in the moment, threw a bottle at the cops, and was gunned down dead. Are you ok with that, really ?

    Those guns are not for decoration folks. They are there to kill. So modify your language to reflect the reality, when pushing for a more armed state.

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  30. Dave Mann (1,206 comments) says:

    I think the second comment on this thread from contheneo mak
    es a lot of sense. If we drastically increased the penalties for assaulting a cop (or a copette) to, say a mandatory 5 years’ prison just as a starting point, and publicized this widely and correctly, this would go a long way towards making the police more respected and able to do their jobs. Also it would help if we could keep the copettes out of the picture and increase the size of the officers. Even a drunk can tell the difference between a schoolgirl and a big burly mf who it would be inadvisable to stuff around with.

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  31. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Just arm the Police. Who cares? I don’t. I stay within the law so I have nothing to fear from them being armed. Also, sort the justice system…you assault a Policeman you do time minimum 10 years no parole, same for assaulting a police dog.

    We are too soft on the scum who roam our streets…’bout time we started some vigilante groups along the lines of Charles Bronson from the 70’s…

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  32. nasska (11,169 comments) says:

    BlairM

    …”New Zealand is long overdue for legislation affirming the right to defend person and property.”…..

    You’ll get no argument out of me from that statement. I wish some of bleeding heart wankers who believe in an defenceless citizenry could experience living unarmed thirty minute’s fast drive from the nearest cop shop.

    Their attitudes would flip flop faster than a Labour politician in an election year.

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  33. nasska (11,169 comments) says:

    Kea

    ….”How would you feel if your kid had a few drinks, got caught up in the moment, threw a bottle at the cops, and was gunned down dead.”……

    Real bad…. but there’s a flaw in your argument. You have failed to take into consideration the likely improvement in attitude to police even from out of control drunken youths if they know that permanent lights out is the likely result of threatening behaviour.

    Under most situations inevitable consequence trumps gung ho booze fueled bravery.

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  34. berend (1,699 comments) says:

    Kea: Sounds like a good argument for not arming the Police. Was that the point you were attempting to make?

    I doubt it.

    I really don’t understand why people like Dexter want to arm the government, but not the citizens. Just nascent fascist tendencies due to being liberal beyond 30 I suppose.

    And I’ve encountered too many cops harassing fairly innocent people that giving them even more power really scares me.

    Fairly innocent means technically in breach of the law, not bothering anyone, nor people calling the cops on them. I’m just not in favour of a professional police force, as I think it creates more problems than it solves.

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  35. berend (1,699 comments) says:

    Dexter: Criminals aren’t routinely armed in this country

    Never reading the news eh?

    Not a shred of sympathy for elderly people or women wishing to defend themselves? Getting killed and raped just goes with being in that class?

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  36. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    liarbors a joke suggests:

    Just arm the Police. Who cares? I don’t. I stay within the law so I have nothing to fear from them being armed.

    So you’ve never heard of an innocent person being gunned down by an armed police officer? Ever?

    Then I suggest you broaden your reading. Start with Rekia Boyd a young woman, unarmed and committing no ofence, shot in the street by an off-duty police officer. Police claim the officer was firing at a man carrying a gun (whom he hit in the hand; Boyd was shot in the head), but neighbours, witnesses, and the alleged offender all claim the man was merely holding a cellphone.

    Or, a little closer to home, the case of Tyler Cassidy in Victoria, only 15, who had emotional problems and ended up confronting police in a skate park while carrying kniives. After using capsicum spray, police didn’t escalate to tasers but instead shot him dead.

    Is that the way you’d like a 15 year old member of your family handled in the midst of a psychotic episode?

    Victorian Police were already under scrutiny after killing 35 people between 1980 and 1995, twice as many people as police forces in all other Australian jurisdictions combined. So where you happen to live can exponentially increase your chances of getting shot by a police officer (unless you’re going to suggest that Victorians are twice as dangerous than all other Australians combined?)

    In fact half of all police shootings involve mentally ill people like Tyler and they’re usually offering no real threat to officers:

    In Saginaw, Mich., six police officers gun down a homeless, schizophrenic man in a vacant parking lot when he refuses to drop a small folding knife.

    In Seattle, Wash., a police officer fatally shoots a mentally ill, chronic alcoholic as he crosses the street, carving a piece of wood with a pocket knife.

    In Portland, Ore., police check on a man threatening suicide and wind up killing him with a single gunshot in the back.

    So you’ve nothing to fear unless you’re in the wrong place when an officer mistakes a cellphone for a gun. Or unless you fall victim to mental illness. Or unless you’re 15 and in desperate need of psychiatric care. Or unless you live in an area where police are more likely to shoot you.

    And those are just a few variables. Still feel safe?

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  37. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    Maybe we should devise a new system of lawmaking and policing regulation that allows for immediate tweaks to laws and regulations like this whenever something is highlighted by the media.

    Or regular blog polls could determine how tough the police are allowed to be.

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  38. nasska (11,169 comments) says:

    PG

    Your sarcasm is a trifle overdone. Blog comments, or maybe polls, are the only means, short of rioting in the street, that the general public have to vent their feelings on matters of law & order. The only time we see even lip service to public safety is when the incompetents we elect to govern us are seeking our votes.

    Other than that, with the remarkable exception of David Garrett & ACT, it is business as usual. The left wing media report the left wing views of the criminologists, the left leaning politicians waffle about human rights & the judiciary concentrate on pointless attempts at rehabilitation disregarding the need for public safety. Institutions which used to cater for the criminally insane have been closed by left wing meddlers leaving those who should be in care, on the street or in prison.

    Perhaps some comments are over the top but given the frustration felt by the average taxpayer, small wonder.

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  39. berend (1,699 comments) says:

    This just in for those that believe banning guns makes you safer: After a school massacre, the U.K. banned handguns in 1998. A decade later, handgun crime had doubled.

    Why would that be lefties?

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  40. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    You have failed to take into consideration the likely improvement in attitude to police even from out of control drunken youths…

    nasska, so you think youths will be behave better, if they know the cops will gun them down in cold blood for minor disorder offences ? You are probably right.

    There are many countries like that. You will find them in Central Africa. I am wondering why you choose to live here in NZ.

    The cops put up with a lot of crap. I have been out with them and seen it first hand. But to go down that path, that some suggest, is cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer. I would rather tolerate youths having noisy parties, than have cops gunning people down for playing-up. It is a tough job, but they volunteered for it.

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  41. OneTrack (2,981 comments) says:

    “I agree that we should resist the general arming of the Police” -Why?

    “However it is fair to say, that such a day may come in the future.” – So how many policeman are you expecting to die before that happens?

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  42. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    So how many policeman are you expecting to die before that happens?

    If you look at the number of Police killed, in the entire history of NZ Policing, you will see it does not even come into the top 100 of of most dangerous occupations. More construction workers, foresters, farmers, are killed in a single year than the past century of policing.

    It is NOT a dangerous job. Police and NZ Soldiers are right up there with office workers in terms of work related injuries. If we saw the same media outcry every time a forestry worker was injured, doing his job, then you may gain some perspective.

    There are ( a few) people in the Police who work up these frenzies in order to gain more power for the Police (and less for us).

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  43. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Pete George (15,688) Says:
    December 28th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Maybe we should devise a new system of lawmaking and policing regulation that allows for immediate tweaks to laws and regulations like this whenever something is highlighted by the media.

    There is already a system which is adequate to the task: it is called common law, in which local law is administered by monthly meetings, the purpose of which was to resolve disputes. Common law does not depend on legal fictions (i.e. fraud) to operate.

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  44. nasska (11,169 comments) says:

    Kea

    I have my doubts that we’ll get to the stage where, “the cops will gun them down in cold blood for minor disorder offences “. Surely we are capable of recruiting police with more intelligence than that.

    Conversely we’re not going to attract the police we want if they’re expected to have their heads kicked in on a regular basis by an out of control bunch of ill brought up young thugs. A tough job it may be but it shouldn’t have to be a suicide mission.

    I was obviously referring to the deterrent effect of looking down the bore of a firearm. Unlike the movies, in real life that has an instantly sobering effect on all but the most dedicated P freak.

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  45. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    nasska – yes, that was deliberate. But every time we have a dangerous police situation that could involve the firearm debate there seems to be kneejerk reactions, many way out of propertion to the problem.

    Just like when we have major court cases and media are on hand to ask victims or their surviving families if the verdict is ok or the sentence is sufficient.

    Policy and justice be media in highly emotional situations – about the worst way to deal with things.

    As for “the incompetents we elect to govern us” – well, they have actually made quite a lot of changes over the last decade or so, with more police, longer sentences, more firearms more available to police, more prisons for a much bigger prison population, tazers etc etc.

    Curious to know why my sarcasm wastargeted with a critical comment while “Violent offenders are feral scum, shoot the bastards, warning shot right between the eyes” gets a mild and almost approving “Perhaps some comments are over the top but given the frustration felt by the average taxpayer, small wonder.”

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  46. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    nasska, so if you were a cop attending the incident described above, at what point would you:

    1. have started killing them?
    2. how many would you have killed ?

    You see nasska, this is not about “arming Police”, it is about killing people. Weasel words will not change the cold hard reality of why cops have guns. Is NZ ready for drunk kids to be shot, for disorderly behaviour, or is NZ not ready for this ?

    No one seems to want to address this simple questions head-on. Instead we hear a bunch of waffle about public safety and how terrible people are now days. You want to arm Police ? Then address the realities of it.

    Funny thing is, the Police are way better tooled up than most people realise anyway. They could have shot heaps of kids that night, if they really wanted to. However the rules of engagement may have held them back. What the “arm them” brigade are really advocating, is lowering the standard for the use of deadly force. Our Police are already well armed </strong.

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  47. nasska (11,169 comments) says:

    PG

    I don’t approve of such hyperbole as the examples you quote but they are spur of the moment comments made by people who may well regret them tomorrow. I’ve always regarded those who advocate for the death penalty & warning shots to the head as being the most likely to hide in a corner, cover their faces & call for Mum if they were asked to shoot a sick cat.

    Fact remains that the average taxpayer foots the bills while the bleeding heart academics & politicians set the policies. Perhaps it’s the turn of the poor bugger doing the paying & accepting the risks to be listened to.

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  48. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    OneTrack asks:

    how many policeman are you expecting to die before that happens?

    And how many civilians – some innocent, and at least half mentally ill – are you expecting to die after that happens?

    Unfortunately the US doesn’t have a central collection point for police shooting data in the US (funny that, when they have stats on everything else, including the murder of police by criminals) but estimates put it at 375 to 500 a year or (taking the higher figure) about 0.0000016 of the population.

    In Victoria, Australia, police managed to kill 2.33 people a year between 1980 and 1995 or about 0.0000004 of the population.

    So even taking the worst period for police shootings in Australia (they managed to kill twice the number of civilians as police forces in all the rest of Australia combined), American officers killed four times as many people per head of population.

    There’s no way to be absolutely certain as to why, but individual reports of the various shootings (see also my comment above) suggest US police are even more trigger-happy than their Australian counterparts:

    In September [...] police in Houston shot dead a wheelchair-bound double-amputee diagnosed with severe mental health problems when officers saw him wave a shiny object (which turned out to be a pen) in the air.

    Many of our police are, as 2boyz so colourfully terms it, “some snot nosed 20 year old fresh out of police college hopped up on testosterone and their own self importance [...] armed with a high powered pistol”. Or, if you prefer, MT_Tinman’s more reasoned description of “the current crop of rather gung-ho young people, many of whom have a rather jaundiced view of the general public and their (the public’s) desire to enjoy themselves every now and then”.

    I therefore suspect our death-per-head-of-population rate would be close to that of the US. That’d be just over 7 a year. Even if they emulated their more restrained Victorian counterparts, it’d still be around 7 every 4 years.

    As I’ve linked to above, research suggests half those who are killed are mentally ill, like the paraplegic noted above. Others are innocent bystanders like Rekia Boyd (also linked above).

    So I’m curious… are these people just collateral damage in the police state in which some people want to live? Or are their lives devalued to the extent that they are the “few maggots [who will] will get killed” in the Dirty-Harry-made-real world of people like Steve (North Shore) above?

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  49. wat dabney (3,708 comments) says:

    you assault a Policeman you do time minimum 10 years no parole, same for assaulting a police dog.

    Brilliant.

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  50. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    I used to be very pro-arming (the Police) but have changed my view with closer association with the “system”. I trust most Police and would have no problems with many of them carrying side arms daily. However, those cops would probably choose not to. It is the ones crying out for guns (well are they really?) that concern me.

    Too many people get their ideas of guns and shooting from the TV. Seeing someone die from gunshot wounds may change their minds and temper their views.

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  51. nasska (11,169 comments) says:

    Kea

    …”this is not about “arming Police”, it is about killing people”…..

    Respectfully…..crap! Being armed, presenting a gun, even firing into the floor do not equate to killing. On the other hand sending two country cops with no close backup into a house full of drunken louts unarmed other than with a long range cattle prod invites the sort of reaction that occurred.

    There are two reasons for anyone to be armed be they police or private citizen. One is to ensure compliance….the other is personal protection. The first is negotiable, the second isn’t.

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  52. David Garrett (6,981 comments) says:

    Some thoughtful comments there…and some less so. Here’s my two cents’ worth.

    While it’s a pretty finely balanced call, I think we have a way to go before general arming – and if we did reach that point, the police training in handling firearms would have to be an order of magnitude better than it is now. Anyone remember that risible piece of video of two or three cops blazing away at a vicious dog – seventeen shots fired comes to mind – and not one hit? Police as inept as that should not be carrying a gun.

    I agree with a commenter early on in this thread who said there needs to be far less bureaucratic procedure required before the cops can get out the gun now carried in a locked box in the boot of virtually every police car. Unless things have changed recently, the street cop has to get permission from a senior seargent before he or she can even get the gun out, much less use it. That is ludicrous. Even if the senior seargent is immediately available by radio, that is one step too many in what might be a very fast developing situation. More likely than not, the seargent will not be immediately available.

    Leave the decision on whether to get the gun out of the box to the cop on the scene. They are well aware of the amount of paperwork that needs to be filled in just for doing that, not to mention actually shooting anybody. But train them much better before making that change.

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  53. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    nasska, I agree with much of what you are saying and their is considerable common ground in our respective views.

    However, when you draw a gun you must be prepared to use it. Standing orders do not include “firing into the floor” or “wounding”. They are taught to aim for centre mass, in the chest.

    You have avoided answering my questions about what “you” would have done when confronted by those drunken youths. That is because it draws attention to the reality of using guns to promote “compliance”. If the person is non-compliant, what do you do ? They may pose no immediate threat, but you have drawn your gun and they are not complying.

    Think about this in a pragmatic way and find your own answer.

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  54. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    On the other hand sending two country cops with no close backup into a house full of drunken louts unarmed other than with a long range cattle prod invites the sort of reaction that occurred.

    I will give my view on this. I would rather the louts carry on their business, while back up arrives, or the Police sort it out in the morning. It is not ideal, but it is better than cops being bottled and beaten, or drunken half wits being shot.

    It is precisely this sort of situation that concerns me. A regular call to sort out a drunken party, that escalates into a shooting. No one goes in expecting it, but things take on a life of their own once you pull that gun out. They are then committed to a course of action that may horrify even the cop holding the gun. How do you think that cop will feel if some drunk, but otherwise ok guy, lunges at them and they have to kill him. (They learn the next day his wife had just left him, he has 3 great kids, and has no criminal record. He owns a local garage and is well liked in the community).

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  55. Dexter (287 comments) says:

    “It is NOT a dangerous job. Police and NZ Soldiers are right up there with office workers in terms of work related injuries.”

    Statistics provide a flawed framework by which to judge ‘dangerous’ jobs by.

    Potentially police and soldiers have the most dangerous jobs of all, it’s purely though training, experience and common sense that they are able to mitigate many of those dangers. When the work itself presents as intrinsically dangerous and never routine, it leads to those involved taking far more care.

    Berend wrote:

    “This just in for those that believe banning guns makes you safer: After a school massacre, the U.K. banned handguns in 1998. A decade later, handgun crime had doubled.”

    And yet the UK has approximately 30 gun homicides per year. The US has 11,000. Explain that.

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  56. nasska (11,169 comments) says:

    Kea

    I can’t give you an answer re what I would have done because I wasn’t there. By this I mean:

    1) I don’t know the full story, only what has been reported.

    2) Situations such as occurred in Dargaville are fluid & fast moving. No one could write a textbook that could cover 20% of the possible eventualities.

    3) My own feelings run close to yours on the dilemma created if a gun is used in an attempt to force compliance. Personally I wouldn’t, for the reasons you give, but again I’m not privy to exactly the position the officers faced.

    Footnote: Your 4.07 makes sense & is probably what should have happened.

    All in all, I don’t consider that anyone doing their duty/job should face having their head kicked in because they were sent into a situation with insufficient means to protect themselves.

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  57. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    I will probably get pissed on from all sides for saying this, but here goes…

    Part of the problem is that human rights legislation means the Police can not prevent applicants joining because of their sex or height.

    Shorties and little women can join, no problem. The standards for the physical tests are lower for females, but shorties have to do the same as every one else.

    Of course I have nothing against shorties and are rather fond of women, but the reality is that big strong looking cops are a deterrent. They are less likely to resort to Tasers, Pepper Spray or Batons. I have observed this with my own eyes. I know that smaller cops, and female cops, often use highly developed people skills to avoid these situations, but the fact remains they do not have the deterrent effect. Also, some may become afraid and escalate things prematurely, or have a bit of “short mans disease” and be up for a go, knowing they have the whole Police force to back them up.

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  58. nasska (11,169 comments) says:

    Kea

    You’re on the money. It was the subject of a thread earlier this year & most eventually agreed that all the “people skills” or unarmed combat yet developed are less than useless when you’re hoisted a couple of feet off the deck & having the shit bashed out of you.

    Ditto for the situation in the armed forces.

    The price paid for total gender equality & political correctness may one day prove to be too high.

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  59. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    Kea points out:

    …it draws attention to the reality of using guns to promote “compliance”. If the person is non-compliant, what do you do ? They may pose no immediate threat, but you have drawn your gun and they are not complying.

    Which is precisely the way in which many police have come to use tasers – not (as was claimed to convince the public and authoritatian politicians) for personal protection but to force compliance from people who are not in themselves a threat:

    The report reviewed 556 incidents between June 2010 and November 2010 and found the devices were used inappropriately on 80 occasions.

    In 27 cases, police were not under serious threat and should not have fired the weapon at all.

    Police tasered people who were handcuffed or fleeing, and in some cases victims were tasered repeatedly…

    Let’s call it what it is – inflicting pain to force compliance is torture. Now I’m sure we’ll get a flood of comments from wannabe Jack Bauers salivating at the thought of the torture of “ferals” and “maggots”, but the fact remains police have shown themselves willing to misuse one weapon, even to the extent of using it to kill:

    [The Coroner said the actions of some police were] “thuggish”. She said they had been swept up by “an ungoverned pack mentality, like schoolboys in the Lord of the Flies”.

    Ms Jerram said taking down Mr Curti involved “a frenzy of officers” most of whom were inexperienced and some “behaving out of control”.

    Curti, 21, died within minutes of being tasered up to 14 times, sprayed with up to 2.5 cans of capsicum spray [much of it while he was restrained on the ground]

    Undoubtedly a smaller number (given it’s more obvious potential lethality) will readily misuse a gun. Training in small arms handling as David Garrett suggests would at least take care of the physical incompetence. But what about the fact that some are clearly just emotionally and psychologically unsuited to the job?

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  60. Dexter (287 comments) says:

    Kea, I don’t think anyone can argue with that when it comes to the front line. Maybe they should do more to reward those who are physically and mentally capable.

    They have switched to competency based interviews, which means that those who interview well and can talk the talk when it comes to examples, get promoted. An incapable obese slob who can’t catch the lunch man let alone a crook or 60 kilo weakling who gets blown around in a strong gale and is intimidated by dark shadows, will be given front line supervisory positions over far more capable persons if they can master HR parlance.

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  61. Dexter (287 comments) says:

    Rex, why are you talking about Police as if they are some universal entity and your irrelevant examples of Australian cops misusing tasers or firearms have any bearing on the discussion here?

    I don’t support arming but that’s about the same as using examples of Australian politicians misusing computers for porn and claiming it as evidence as to why our politicians here can’t be trusted with computers.

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  62. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    Rex, I have no problem with the Police shooting someone to save their lives or the lives of others. The threat should be immediate and inescapable. I am no bleeding heart.

    But that should only be done as a last resort. A man holed up in a house, shooting at the cops, is not sufficient grounds to shoot him, provided he is contained and no immediate risk to others. Not complying with clear instructions, no grounds. Escaping Police, no grounds. Threatening to bash the cop, no grounds. Breaking windows with a golf club early in the morning, no grounds. Driving a courier van, no grounds.

    The use of guns, tasers or other offensive weapons, to enforce compliance, is what prevents me supporting the Police being better armed. All that is needed is a change in Police culture and training. Then I will have no problem with them being armed to the teeth.

    I think we agree on this.

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  63. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    They have switched to competency based interviews, which means that those who interview well and can talk the talk when it comes to examples, get promoted. An incapable obese slob who can’t catch the lunch man let alone a crook or 60 kilo weakling who gets blown around in a strong gale and is intimidated by dark shadows, will be given front line supervisory positions over far more capable persons if they can master HR parlance.

    You got it Dexter, good point.

    That is how it works. (Not just in the Police though). It is silly nonsense and people are measured on arbitrary competencies that are set around political goals and the career aspirations of senior managers. It is all smoke & mirrors.

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  64. berend (1,699 comments) says:

    Dexter: And yet the UK has approximately 30 gun homicides per year. The US has 11,000. Explain that.

    Fewer guns, means less homicides using a gun perhaps?

    But some tips for you:
    1. Obviously you need to compare total homicides, not just those killed by knifes.
    2. And you need to do that per population.
    3. Then correct for gang behaviour, and large cities (large cities have more crime than towns).
    4. Then correct for race (we don’t track culture), and surprise, black on black violence is orders of magnitude different then any other.

    That gives you a bit more insight.

    In the end you want to know if you, an ordinary law abiding citizen living in a decent part of town is going to be affected by crime. The results might surprise you.

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  65. landoftime (35 comments) says:

    I feel it’s up to police and the time for change will come when they ask for it. If they want to be armed, if they feel they need to be, then they have my support. If they want the status quo – then they have my support.

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  66. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    lanoftime, that is an appallingly lazy approach to take. You have really made no statement at all.

    It is not up to the Police. They are there to serve us, we are not here to serve them. We make the rules, we decide. The whole legal system is an artificial one that we invented. It was not made by some higher all knowing power. Just ordinary folk like you and me made this up.

    I believe their is such a thing as a “healthy suspicion of authority”. I suggest you need to develop some suspicion yourself.

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  67. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    Dexter says:

    …that’s about the same as using examples of Australian politicians misusing computers for porn and claiming it as evidence as to why our politicians here can’t be trusted with computers

    Riiiiight… because our politicians don’t misuse publicly funded perks for porn, now do they Dexter? *cough*ShaneJones*cough* Or politicians in the US. And we all know those UK Tories aren’t into anything kinky.

    Thanks for illustrating my argument. Just as politics everywhere attracts a larger-than-normal cohort of greedy, arrogant wankers (literally and figuratively speaking) so policing everywhere attracts a larger-than-normal cohort of aggressive, dictatorial, hot heads with the impulse control of your average gang member.

    Kea says:

    I think we agree on this.

    Mmmm, kinda. With you 110% right up to your last paragraph. Training won’t weed out the types who’ll misuse their weapons because it’s about personality not ability. I’ll only be happy with police “armed to the teeth” when there has been evidence of a major and sustained change to the gang-like mentality that sees even good officers protect the bad, and some in the hierarchy actively seeking to recruit and promote people who are temperamentally unsuited to the job. Sadly, civilian deaths haven’t changed that culture much, so I don’t see it ever happening.

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  68. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Lack of support for the police in punishing those that assault police will lead to general arming.

    The lack of support shown by the Courts shows drunken rabble that there is nothing to be feared in behaving like the Dargaville incident.

    The police need to be treated as “special” while acting in the excution of their lawful duties. i.e if you interfere or assault or insitgate you suffer a punishment that shows you have behaved in a seriously bad manner.

    otherwise the police are fair game and it will only take another one ot two to be killed and you will see overt general arming and the NZ public will only have themselves to blame 1. by their behaviour 2 by their legal system taking a blase attitude to those acting in the lawful execution of their duty who are paid to protect them

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  69. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    so policing everywhere attracts a larger-than-normal cohort of aggressive, dictatorial, hot heads with the impulse control of your average gang member.

    Globally, the history of the Police is one of brutality and corruption. We are lucky to have reasonably good cops, but they are no angels. It alarms me the way some folk put them on a pedestal and think they can do no wrong.

    Yes we do agree Rex and I agree with your comments. You have a very good understanding of the issues. Suck it up while it lasts ;)

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  70. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Kea @ 5.01

    you appear to be generally ignorant of general fire orders for the New Zealand Police. Have a read.

    http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/3376.html

    And after you have read them give me a call and I’ll come around with a golf club and see how you feel, I probably wont even need a golf club to wish you had someone there to shoot me.

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  71. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay, the Courts take a dim view of those who attack Police. Even if the cops stirred them up, the defendant has little defense, either on the street, or in Court.

    I don’t think shooting people is a great way to gain support, but maybe I am just a bleeding heart liberal. When you talk about arming Police, you are talking about shooting people. Let us not forget that simple fact.

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  72. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Kea

    Stop talking shit, if the Courts took a seriously dim view assaults would drop back .

    Like I said you have no idea what you are talking about apart from conversations with others.

    My point above and I thought I had been reasonably lucid is that unless peoples behaviour is changed it is enivitable that there will be overt general arming and when this happens don’t come bitching and moaning because it won’t be the police that makes the decision it will be part of the democratic process and that means that the general public wants this to happen

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  73. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    Kea @ 5.01

    you appear to be generally ignorant of general fire orders for the New Zealand Police. Have a read.

    http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/3376.html

    And after you have read them give me a call and I’ll come around with a golf club and see how you feel, I probably wont even need a golf club to wish you had someone there to shoot me.

    Pauleastbay, firstly, I have been awarded 50 demerits for saying less than that. Be careful buddy.

    Thanks for the link and here is what I found:

    An overriding requirement in law is that minimum force must be applied to effect the purpose.”

    What that means is, as much force as necessary, or what ever it takes (but no more)

    (2) Police members shall not use a firearm except in the following circumstances:

    to ARREST an offender…. to PREVENT THE ESCAPE….

    I am not sure I feel comforted by that Pauleastbay…

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  74. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    When you talk about arming Police, you are talking about shooting people. Let us not forget that simple fact.

    Well, no you’re not. Technically our cops have always been armed – those truncheons they carry as standard issue are more than capable of messing anyone up permanently.

    And how many cases are reported of our Police killing, or permanently incapacitating, people with their truncheons? Augmenting the arming they already have with a firearm on the hip is guaranteed to change that how exactly?

    Given at least one of the officers at the Waikato incident would have been a little further back and with said sidearm upholstered, the greater likelihood is that no assault would have taken place.

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  75. big bruv (13,674 comments) says:

    “When you talk about arming Police, you are talking about shooting people. Let us not forget that simple fact.”

    You are talking about shooting scum. I see no problem with that at all.

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  76. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    You’ll find that that the parts of (2) are special circumstances, that failure to arrest him by less violent means or preventing his escape by less violent means will result in serious injury or death to the member or others.

    And my point regards the golf club is unless you have been confronted with someone with a weapon meaning to do you or others serious harm you have no idea what you are talking about every circumstance is different. Life is not like TV , it takes very little to cause serious injury.

    And if you go to the Crimes Act you’ll find that the police when making any arrest are required to use the minimum of force necessary whether thye are armed or not, so again you are a tad ignorant of the overall guidelines.

    And i know this is just a stat but the Auckland Central watchouse used to put through about 12000 arrests a year, that just Auckland central, I believe that there have been about 24 people shot by the new Zealand police.

    And lastly there have been firearms readily available to front line staff for the last 25 years easily, so you can see there has not been a rash of KB commentators being smoked over by over zealous young coppers just because there have been “high powered pistols” about . The firearms are just not carried on the hip which is a good thing I think BUT it will happen unless there is more support by the Courts
    .

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  77. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay says:

    The police need to be treated as “special” while acting in the excution of their lawful duties. i.e if you interfere or assault or insitgate you suffer a punishment that shows you have behaved in a seriously bad manner.

    Broadly speaking, I agree with you, and I want to support such laws as a means to guard against general arming.

    However here in Australia (sorry Dexter, I know we have nothing in common with our antipodean cousins) where Police are already armed they are also (in most jurisdictions) also protected by “assault on a public officer” laws (which – and I think this is a good idea – also cover firemen, ambulance paramedics and so on).

    The problem is, those laws afford extra protection to the small minority of thugs in the police. We’ve seen footage on TV of a burly cop getting fed up with a young woman a quarter of his size, who was doing no more than being annoyingly mouthy as he and several other officers dispersed a crowd. So he reaches out his hand, which covers her whole face and just about touches her ears, and flings her backwards, off her feet and onto her back on the bitumen.

    Police hierarchy rfused to discipline the officer and called this “standard procedure”, and they’re probably right.

    I can’t find that video (they only keep them up for so long) but here’s a recent brutal and sustained assault on a person pulled over for driving offences.

    What happens when someone defends themselves against this sort of over-reaction? They’re charged with “assault on a public officer”.

    So I’ve come to the position that I’m happy to support making police “special” in terms of the protection they’re afforded if they’re also “special” when caught breaking the law. So, say, an unprovoked assault by a police officer gets a high minimum sentence above that a non-police offender might expect to receive. Turnabout is fair play, as they say.

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  78. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    big bruv says:

    You are talking about shooting scum. I see no problem with that at all.

    Scroll back up, look at some of the examples I’ve provided (like the double amputee shot dead, or the mentally ill man whittling a piece of wood) and reflect on the fact that half the civilians shot by the police in the US are mentally ill.

    Then tell me if you think the disabled and mentally ill are “scum”.

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  79. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    bhudson, yes they are armed now. So why do they need to carry guns on a regular basis, is the question. What is really being advocated, is the bar being lowered for deadly force. Basically they are advocating shooting people for non compliance, as highlighted above with my cut n’ paste from the Police Fire Orders. I did not give context to my excerpts, but the authority (to shoot) is given on the basis of non-compliance. I am not comfortable with that.

    big bruv, well at least you are honest and up front, but I do not agree with you. Some decent people can act like “scum” . Circumstances could conspire against even yourself.

    I was speaking about this, with a cop, and he said “There but for the grace of God go I”. It is a good approach to have in the profession.

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  80. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Rex

    There are always going to be “Winstons” in any profession that drag down standards and ride rough shod over the rules and appear to get away it and there will always be one or two off incidents that can get rolled out everytime someone wants to make a point but you can’t base a law or a total view on matter like these

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  81. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    with said sidearm upholstered

    And if they had drawn the sidearm for its holster, it would have been even more effective :-)

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  82. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    And my point regards the golf club is unless you have been confronted with someone with a weapon meaning to do you or others serious harm you have no idea what you are talking about

    You assume rather a lot my friend :)

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  83. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    ^^ “from”. Gah, edit!!

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  84. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    Seems there are a few sooks here today who disagree with my opinion of shooting the bastards, right between the eyes.

    Obviously they have never been in a situation that would never have happened if the Police were armed. My incident happened many years ago, but the thugs are now much more violent because they can be.

    I wear dentures, I hope all of you soft cock weasles never have to go through that

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  85. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    Steve, I am enjoying this debate with the hard line right wing. It makes a change from dealing with socialist trolls.

    However, though we may have common ground, I do not share some of the views advanced in this discussion. I am actually no bleeding heart liberal. I just know a bit about the system and want what works best for the public. My focus is not Police welfare, but public welfare. That is not to say I do not care about the Police either.

    Regards,

    soft cock weasel ;)

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  86. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Kea (1,282) Says:

    December 28th, 2012 at 6:56 pm
    bhudson, yes they are armed now. So why do they need to carry guns on a regular basis, is the question. What is really being advocated, is the bar being lowered for deadly force Basically they are advocating shooting people for non compliance, as highlighted above with my cut n’ paste from the Police Fire Orders

    Now you are just trying to be willfully misleading, bordering on pathetic. Show me where the bar is being lowered for “deadly force”. You are desperately trying to mould things to your opinion , failing miserably by the way as well,. Those general fire orders are the ones I learned in 1979 apart from “she” being added every now and agian, and they were around along time prior to 1979 so you comment is like I said willfully misleading.

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  87. big bruv (13,674 comments) says:

    Rex

    I assume that you see the death of Len Snee (who may well have been able to save his own life had he been armed) as just one of those things that happen on the job?

    And please, using the USA as a reason not to arm our cops?…is that really the best you got Rex? Everybody knows that the seppos are fucked when it comes to their stupid liberal gun laws.

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  88. Kea (11,996 comments) says:

    big bruv, our cops are armed. They actually have good access to firearms. The issue, for me, are the circumstances of their use.

    See my 3:42 for some context to my comments.

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  89. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    Kea,
    don’t appologise to me, appologise to all of those who have been hurt/killed because our Police did not have the firearm on his hip.
    There are some stroppy arsewipes out there who would run as soon as they saw a Cop with his hand on the holster ready to unclip. The arseholes are the ones who cause shit because they can, and they are very bravado against a pair of handcuffs

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  90. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    I am enjoying the debate, it is sorting out the men from the boys, and the metros from the girls.

    HTFU or you may lose teeth like I did

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  91. Jack5 (5,010 comments) says:

    The police should be allowed to carry pistols at all time, but if and only if the laws on gun ownership and use by civilians are liberalised. We all need protection from the rising feral class that is proliferating thanks to super welfare.

    The police gave a rough deal over a long time to the Northland farmer who used a shotgun when confronting robbers on his farm. The Auckland gunshop owner who shot an armed, threatening robber, also was put through the legal mill by the police.

    If the police want the support of the firearms owning community they ought to stop hammering civilians forced to use firearms in self-defence or in defence of property.

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  92. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    I just re read what I said at 7.54pm. Can be taken the wrong way.
    I meant that if you do not harden up, the criminals will just do as they wish

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  93. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    big bruv says:

    I assume that you see the death of Len Snee (who may well have been able to save his own life had he been armed) as just one of those things that happen on the job?

    I mourn the death of any decent person, BB. I’m not sure I agree that he may have been able to save his own life were he armed, as it seems the lowlife who killed him did so without warning or any real provocation. Would an officer serving a warrant for a minor offence like cannabis, with other officers there for backup, have drawn his weapon prior to being shot at?

    I’m not sure we can prevent people who set out determined to murder a cop from doing so (even the hardware routinely carried by US officers, including body armour, doesn’t always save them from ambushes). Nor, for that matter, can we stop one civilian murdering another if they give no prior indication and are determined enough.

    All we can do is ensure those who commit such atrocities are punished as severely as possible (which in that case would mean life without possibility of parole) and send the message that that will be your fate if you murder an officer.

    While we must do everything reasonable to prevent police fatalities, to some extent it is, as various commenters compared it to above, a bit like joining the army. You accept the risk going in. I don’t want to see our SAS killed, but that doesn’t mean I’d support a measure that was going to increase civilian in Afghanistan.

    Everybody knows that the seppos are fucked when it comes to their stupid liberal gun laws.

    I’m forced to use Australia and the US as they’re the countries closest to NZ whose police go about routinely armed. I know it’s not perfect but there are more similarities than there are differences. I can’t use NZ or the UK as they don’t routinely arm police.

    Anyway, US gun laws have nothing to do with police shooting unarmed people, and innocent bystanders. None of the people I’ve cited above were armed.

    It probably does explain why their ratio of police-on-civilian killings are four times those of Australia’s though, because a proportion of those shot would indeed have been armed, which is why I used figures from both countries for comparison purposes. If we just stick with the Australian comparison, then we can assume 7 people killed every four years, with at least 3 of those being mentally ill.

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  94. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    7 x 4 = 28, so out of 28 there were 3 mentally ill.
    That’s a better way to do the numbers Rex.
    Now explain the 25 who are normal that kill

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  95. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    Steve, what are you talking about?

    My figure of seven killing every four years was arrived at by taking as a comparison the number of Victorians killed by their police force (and the mfigures were over several years, not just one especially bad, not statistically relevant, year), working that out on a per-headof-population basis, and then translating that to NZ’s smaller population.

    “7 x 4 = 28″ would only make sense if you mean four periods of four years (since seven are killed every four years, so 28 people in 16 years).

    Since studies have found around 50% of those killed by police have some form of mental illness, in one four year period three (or 3.5 to be precise) would likely be mentally ill, while out of your 28 people, 14 would be mentally ill.

    Explain the other 14? Well those who aren’t mad are generally bad, though a small propertion of those killed by police are innocent bystanders (as per the example I’ve cited above).

    So, say, 12 bad criminals and 2 bystanders in 16 years (remember the guy on the Auckland motorway? Innocent bystanders get shot in NZ too).

    So in answer to your question, perhaps 12 out of 28 would be genuine criminals. So… what does that have to do with anything? We can’t possible surmise whether, for instance, if those 12 were not shot they’d have killed someone. Often criminals are shot fleeing the scene after, say, an armed robbery (serious, but not murder).

    So are you saying that in order to shoot the 12 bad we should condone the killing of the 14 mentally ill and the two bystanders?

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  96. Dexter (287 comments) says:

    Rex, you’re comparing apples with oranges and coming up with bananas.

    You can’t extrapolate Victorian police shootings into an example of what would happen here, the forces themselves are so intrinsically different at every level along with the type of people who comprise them. Australian police forces follow the American model, New Zealand the English as envisioned by Robert Peel.

    The cops here have already proven a marked difference with Australian over the use or misuse of the taser, the same applies to pepper spray, baton’s and general physical force. What evidence is there at all to suggest that they would suddenly mirror Australia when it comes to firearms.

    There has been one ‘bad’ police shooting here, and that was by accident.

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  97. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    @Dexter

    To some degree you’re right, there are differences between Australain and New Zewaland forces which make predicting the outcome of arming NZ Police educated guesswork. I’ve never pretended I know what will happen, which is why I laboriously lay out my sources and reasoning so that others can draw their own conclusions, as you have done.

    But I’d dispute to a great extent your assertion that NZ Police have been better bheaved than their Australian counterparts with tasers. I’d need to track down data on the number of police-to-citizen contacts on either side of the Tasman for similar periods, then adjust for population size as I’ve done above and I just don’t have time at present – I’ve people waiting to be fed.

    However this story suggests NZ officers can be as laissez faire about their taser use as Australians (the question, which I shall have to research later) is whether the number of such incidents is comparable:

    A 14-year-old boy and a 70-year-old man are among the New Zealanders stunned by police Tasers since their introduction last year [...] Police national firearm and taser project manager Superintendent John Rivers [...] defended the Tasers, saying they were a “less-lethal” option but they could have “unforseen consequences”.

    “We can’t promise that some time in the future [a death or injury won't occur]. That’s just the nature of policing.”

    If that’s their attitude to supposedly non-lethal weapons I think I’m right to be concerned about routinely arming them.

    And besides, even if it’s one mentally ill person shot every four years and one innocent bystander a decade, it’s still too many when weighed against the fact that police don’t need to carry guns – the present system is working adequately. The Press story is a strawman, unless they’re suggesting the officers kicked and punched (thus presumably by unarmed assailants) ought to have shot and killed the people responsible. I’m all for punishing people who attack police, as I explained above – just not with the death penalty.

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  98. Dexter (287 comments) says:

    “However this story suggests NZ officers can be as laissez faire about their taser use as Australians ”

    That article doesn’t suggest anything of the sort, given that there is no suggestion of the taser being misused in either circumstance. In New Zealand even if the person shot raises no objection to the taser use, the footage is still downloaded and sent to be reviewed by an Inspector to ensure it complied with policy. It is also sent to lawyers as part of disclosure packages.

    Unless there is some big conspiracy a foot, also involving defense lawyers, it doesn’t appear that the taser is being misused at all.

    Most people with little experience or physical training in any martial art don’t seem to realise that it can take between 4-6 strong males to safely subdue a single offender (just look at the prisons policy). So in each case mentioned by the paper, the risks to both the 14 year old and 70 year old may well have been much less due to the use of the Taser.

    And no, I’m not even for firearms, just for a logical debate on the matter.

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  99. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    I mis read your comment Rex. I did think it was 7 every 4 years, I got it wrong.
    Please excuse my raving

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  100. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    As usual the press uses misleading language in support of the system. A policeman acting without warrant is not acting in an official capacity and is therefore not an officer within the context of the Dargaville incident. The fact that someone has complained does not in itself justify anything, and then there is the issue of the religious prejudice of the Westminster system acting for the Exclusive Brethren.

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