Firearms audit confirms overall security at Police sites
A national audit released by Police today finds the majority of Police sites have robust security and storage for firearms in their custody, but improvements are required in some areas.
“Police has a duty to New Zealanders to ensure our stations are secure,” says Deputy Commissioner Districts, John Tims.
“The burglary of the Palmerston North Police station in April was a very disappointing incident for Police.
But it led to the audit which now gives us certainty, and a plan for ongoing improvement.
“This audit has enabled us to gain a picture of how the reality of daily operations match the policy requirements of firearms security infrastructure, processes, and systems, as well as storage at stations.
“What we found is a good but variable picture.
We found our staff have a high level of knowledge.
However, in some instances the levels of physical storage or security varied.
“There are some places where upgrades or improvements are needed, and those are being undertaken as a matter of priority.
This includes actions such as improving secure locations within premises, upgrading alarms, and installing CCTV systems.
“Where sites required immediate attention, work is underway and in many cases already complete.
Where it is not yet complete, mitigations are in place.”
Each district has a dedicated lead to manage the improvements and a national project has been initiated to oversee the work programme.
“We know some stations aren’t set up for large storage.
That is why we looked at the storage capacity of our stations as part of the planning for the current firearms amnesty and buy-back.
“The reality is, we have locations where it’s not practical to store hundreds of firearms.
But we also have places that have more capacity and are more suitable.
The audit and improvements we’re making support the work of the firearms amnesty and buy-back.”
As part of the investigation into the burglary at Palmerston North Police station, we can now confirm that two of the firearms thought to be still outstanding have now been accounted for as part of an internal audit. This means there is one firearm outstanding, which Police remains focussed on locating.
Police has been working on a new exhibit management system which is separate to the audit and will see a technology solution develop so that all exhibits, including firearms, are managed centrally.
This will help mitigate against any inconsistencies or errors in firearms inventory.
“The national audit resulted in a mix of short term and longer term recommendations.
These will provide a check to ensure Police is operating at best practice, as well as give assurance to our communities.”
You can view the report here.