Like most NZers, my thoughts last night were with the two shot police officers. It is horrific when unarmed police are fired upon, and thank god their wounds were not fatal, unlike Gage the police dog.
I think there is a case that all police cars should have fire arms in their boots, so officers can use them in self defence at least. That would require much more intensive fire arms training for police officers though. It looks like this may occur.
However it is worth noting that it is possible harm could have been minimised in this case with the use of tasers. The Herald reported:
The officers felt comfortable enough to leave their Tasers in the car as they went door-knocking.
The person they were looking for could not be found. Instead, they discovered – thanks to a strong whiff of cannabis – a nearby house being used to grow marijuana.
They used their powers under the Misuse of drugs Act to carry out a search without a warrant.
One of the men at the house was arrested but a second man grabbed a firearm.
It is easy to criticise from the luxury of one's own home, but on the basis of the report, it may have been prudent to have kept their tasers on them – especially once the call out changed into a drugs bust.
Once the offender is actually armed, you don't want to try to battle a firearm with a taser. However it is possible they may have been able to taser him as he was going for the firearm.
Regardless the responsibility for what happened rests of course with the man who did the shooting, and frankly I think he should be in prison for life – even though the officers did not die. There should be a very clear message about the consequences if you open fire on police officers.The maximum sentence is 14 years, which isn't enough in my opinion.