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Maori Party shocked at killing of police officer

Maori Party shocked at killing of police officer
Dr Pita Sharples, Police issues spokesperson 11 September 2008


The Maori Party said today they were appalled to hear of the killing of a police officer, and the shooting and beating of a colleague, during an operation against a clandestine ‘P’ lab in Mangere.

“Our first thoughts are for the family of the dead officer, who are facing the worst nightmare of any police family,” said co-leader and police spokesperson Dr Pita Sharples, MP for Tamaki Makaurau.

“Their loved one has paid the ultimate price, and the family are suffering the worst possible consequences, of the police’s work to keep our communities safe,” he said.

“No-one expects the police to be killed in the line of duty, but the risk is always there, and we must acknowledge the courage of police who answer callouts every day to domestic incidents, street brawls, driving infringements – any of which could become extremely dangerous.

“They do it for us, and they can only do it with the support of their families, friends, colleagues and the community. We are so sorry that the whanau have suffered this terrible loss today,” Dr Sharples said.

“The Police have said the operation was targeting a clan lab. This incident underlines the dangers of ‘P’, and the importance of stopping the scourge, something the Maori Party has actively been involved in. We must support every effort to track down, catch and punish those involved.

“But more generally, there are things every one of us can do to make our communities safe, and support the work of the police. It’s about looking after each other, making sure each others’ children are kept safe, taking responsibility for each other and the communities we live in.

“This morning, one local resident has been reported as saying she had heard there was a drug house in her street, but she didn’t do anything about it. I guess she felt she was minding her own business.

“The problem is, this business is everyone’s business. We have to stop turning a blind eye to drug dealing, or it will attack us and our children while our back is turned,” warned Dr Sharples.

“Getting to know your neighbours, and talking about what goes on in your street, are ways to claim ownership of your community. Don’t let the ratbags run the place, and leave it to the police to sort them out. Think about how to take charge of your own situation. It could save someone’s life – maybe even your own.”


ENDS

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