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Police Armed Response Teams will not continue

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Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has announced that Armed Response Teams will not be part of the New Zealand policing model in the future.

The six month trial of teams of police carrying firearms were launched in Counties Manukau, Waikato and Canterbury last year and ended in April.

The decision not to roll-out the teams has been made based on preliminary findings from the trial evaluation, feedback received from the public, and consultation with community forum groups, says Coster.

“Everything we do, we do to keep New Zealanders safe and feeling safe.

“New Zealand Police values our relationships with the different communities we serve, and delivers on the commitments we make to them.

This means listening and responding to our communities and partnering with them to find solutions that work for both police and our communities, he says.

I have previously said that the evaluation would only be one factor in our decision making, says Coster.

“It is clear to me that these response teams do not align with the style of policing that New Zealanders expect.

“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.

“As part of this, I want to reiterate that am committed to New Zealand Police remaining a generally unarmed Police service.

“How the public feels is important - we police with the consent of the public, and that is a privilege.

“For Police, the trial was about having specialist police personnel immediately ready to deploy to critical or high risk incidents, to support our frontline staff where they needed enhanced tactical capabilities.

“We can only keep New Zealanders safe if we can keep our staff safe too.

“That is why Police has invested in the new body armour system, we have strengthened training, and given our officers more tools and tactical options.

“Having listened to feedback from our people through the trial, we are also undertaking a programme of work looking at our broad tactical capability to ensure our critical response options remain fit for purpose.

“Through this work we will continue to ensure our staff are well equipped and trained to meet all eventualities.

“We will still complete the evaluation into ARTs and that will now inform the wider tactical capability work programme.

“Any options that come out of that will be consulted with our communities to ensure we take a collaborative approach to policing in our communities.”

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It would be interesting...

Posted on 11-06-2020 14:27 | By morepork

... to know what the rationale is for discontinuing the use of these units. Police have consulted with Community and specialists and the consensus seems to be that they are not required. And yet, if there is an increasing trend in armed offending, it’s reasonable to suppose that there needs to be an effective response. The final decision has to be with the Police and it appears they have taken it.

Agree hapukafin

Posted on 10-06-2020 10:24 | By

This unit is needed. To state in other media that it was ’racially focused’ is an insult. Of course they go where they’re needed most. How ridiculous not to. As hapukafin says, they’re Johnny on the spot as the Armed Offender Squad take a bit to swing into action (nothing against them). AR may have been used a few times outside the intended scope of work detail but overall we need them. We need to be keeping up with the play and unfortunately times dictate a different approach to an educational Police Force. If people find them a little intimidating wait until your staring down the barrel of a raging lunatic gang member and 40 illegally noisey motorbikes thundering around like morons. You’ll want AR there in the blink of an eye AND you’ll be thankful for them.

protection against crime

Posted on 10-06-2020 08:31 | By hapukafin

I see the AR team as the bobby on the street or jonny on the spot when a crime is committed.To assemble the the armed defender squad takes time.How many times have we seen armed robbers gone by the time the police get there.This gave better protection for people like granny being robbed after she has been to the ATM,dairy owner,according to media I dont read the same amount of dairy robbery.There appears to be a increase in the numbers of fire arm incidence,with the AR team on the road they can respond more quickly.Police need to be able to protect themselves to protect the public.If you dont commit a crime you obviously wont get targeted.repeating criminals will always be on the radar.I predict that there will be a increase in dairy,service station takeaways robbery.