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Nonsense And Half-Truths Frustrating For Police

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Nonsense And Half-Truths Frustrating For Police

"Claims that armed police stormed a bus full of terrified children on Monday are nonsense, and just indicate the depths of emotional manipulation that are being used to fuel an anti-police backlash," Police Association President Greg O'Connor said today.

"Actions taken in executing warrants on Monday were taken because there was clear evidence that a real and serious threat needed to be tackled before it resulted in serious harm."

"Unfortunately Police can't share that evidence with the public yet because if they did, that would jeopardise the criminal cases. That's frustrating for the media and the public, but that's the reality of our legal system. We have to wait for the full story to come out through the court process," Mr O'Connor said.

"But it's also frustrating for police to have to listen to the nonsense, half-truths and outright lies being peddled by various people with well-established agendas."

"There was no boarding of a school bus by armed or any police. Criminals, though, don't respect the sanctity of school buses. Four years ago, in the same area, two armed gang members wanted in relation to a homicide tried to escape from police by hiding on a kohanga reo bus full of children - which just goes to show how indifferent criminals are to the safety of innocent bystanders," said Mr O'Connor.

"Claims that kids have been 'terrorised' by police are totally untrue. Police put safety and protection of the public at the absolute top of their priority list - that's why they're doing the job in the first place. Criminals don't share that concern. Yes, police actions aimed at keeping the public safe can sometimes be disruptive and inconvenient. But without them we'd be suffering criminal actions and real trauma and tragedy for innocent civilians."

"This is not about 'Police versus Maori'. 'Entire communities' haven't been 'branded terrorists'. Police actions were not 'over the top'. When you are taking action to secure evidence and suspects, especially where firearms are involved, you must move quickly and establish control of the situation. If you go in half-baked, things can get out of control very quickly and people get hurt. And, obviously, suggestions that Police should have just come in for a cup of tea and chat about their concerns are totally unrealistic. Evidence would have been destroyed and suspects would have vanished the minute police interest was flagged," said Mr O'Connor.

"Quite bluntly, a lot of what is happening now is being fuelled by people who are in no position to know the facts, but who have a long-standing dislike or mistrust of police. They're filling the information vacuum, resorting to emotional manipulation, and attempting to ignite flames of racial division in order to galvanise people behind their anti-police prejudices."

"When the full facts come out, I hope these people will be as determined in their efforts to publicly apologise for the damage they risk doing through their ill-considered comments," Mr O'Connor said.


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