Police are scrapping Armed Response Teams after public feedback.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said on Tuesday Armed Response Teams (ARTs) would not be part of the New Zealand policing model in the future.
The decision not to roll-out ARTs following the six-month trial had been made based on preliminary findings from the trial evaluation, feedback received from the public, and consultation with community forum groups.
ARTs, part of the armed offenders squad (AOS), are armed and mobile to aid frontline officers, unlike the rest of the AOS which comprises officers on 24-hour call from a range of police jobs.
“New Zealand police values our relationships with the different communities we serve, and delivers on the commitments we make to them.”
Coster said it was clear the response teams did not align with the style of policing that New Zealanders expected.
“We have listened carefully to that feedback and I have made the decision these teams will not be a part of our policing model in the future.”
Coster added he was committed to New Zealand police remaining a generally unarmed police service.
I think this is the right decision. Not because some people didn’t like them, but because there didn’t appear to be strong evidence that having them resulted in better outcomes.
Often the ARTs got involved in low level stuff, where armed officers were not needed.