The case for arming the Police

A police officer writes in Stuff:

I graduated with a wooden baton, a set of handcuffs and a desire to make a difference. Now I must wear a stab proof vest in the summer heat, carry pepper spray, a metal baton and a Taser. Why? New Zealand has changed.
In nearly 30 years of policing, guns have gone from a rare find, worthy of high fives in the office, to commonplace. It was a slow creep.

I am sure this is true, but would be interested to see official data on this such as number of firearms charges a year over last three decades.

Most of those opposed to arming police fall into three categories: Naive, unrealistic or nostalgic. They don’t live or interact with that side of the tracks.
“Just call the AOS” is nice in theory. But policing is unpredictable, every door knock, every car stop presents danger. We can’t cordon and contain every part of our days.

I agree you can’t have police officers rely on the AOS constantly. But the current policy of having firearms available (in the car) but not carried seems to work okay. Again I’d be interested in data where harm has occurred because officers had to get guns from their car rather than have them on hand.

I must admit listening to “bush experts” saying what police should and shouldn’t do, from people who have and never will put themselves in harm’s way, is a bit hard to swallow.
If seeing a cop with a pistol makes you feel unsafe, try walking up to a car full of gang members who hate you for no other reason than your uniform. You’re not getting punched, kicked, stabbed and put in danger in your job, we are.

Very true. Frontline cops have one of the unsafest jobs in New Zealand. I’m grateful to them.

General arming is halfway here already and people didn’t notice. Health and safety demands we must protect our staff and the cold fact is we have been an armed police for quite some time. It’s no coincidence we are not being murdered like we were and armed criminals are being shot more often.

Which is good, and why I support arms being available in cars.

The Canterbury arming order only moved the pistol from the car safe to the hip. But that could be vital if you’re caught halfway between your patrol car and a meth psycho’s vehicle when he steps out with a shotgun. Suddenly a gun in the car might as well be at the station.
Those who think we cannot be trusted with firearms probably thought the same thing about Tasers. If you believe a pistol on the hip will make us a version of the worst police force in the United States, you’re clearly not among the nearly 80 per cent of Kiwis who have trust and confidence in us, which is sad.

I have no problem with the Canterbury order as a tactical response.

I would rather not have all Police routinely carry sidearms. Nothing to do with not trusting them, but I think it would be an unwelcome societal change.

The status quo of having arms in vehicles, and allow District Commanders to order temporary general arming seems good to me. A change to regular arming would need some strong data on why it is necessary.

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