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Call to Arm Police an Attempt to Create Public Fear

Call to Arm Police an Attempt to Create Public Fear

“The Police Union call to arm the Police is a calculated attempt to create unjustified public fear”, says Kim Workman, Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment. New Zealand has a proud history of unarmed policing by consent, which the Police Association can only successfully challenge after a spate of violent incidents against the police.

‘Incident driven’ policy change is a political tactic used by the Police Association to construct a sense of public fear and portray policing as dangerous. That is the only way it can justify the general arming of the Police.

“The last example was in February 2010, almost three years ago, when there were three serious assaults against the Police in a week. It was quickly followed by the Police union claiming that the public had lost respect for the Police, and that such assaults were on the increase. None of that was true – general public confidence in the Police is very high, and the rate of assault per sworn Police officer has barely changed over the last ten years.

It is not unusual to have an occasional blip of three or four serious assaults over a matter of days, but a short, sudden increase does not constitute a trend.”

“New Zealander has a proud tradition, along with England, Wales Scotland, Southern Ireland and Scandinavia of ‘policing by consent’, in which the public trust and respect the police in exchange for an expectation that they will discharge their duty without recourse to firearms. The public expectation is that the strength of a police officer’s personality and ability to project authority and respect is sufficient to maintain general law and order.”

“In return, the Police can expect public support for the firm management of people who breach the law, and for the introduction of laws which assist the Police to do their job.

If the public is serious about that, then it should vigorously protest against the government’s liberal approach to liquor law reform. At least two of the more recent incidents might have been avoided by raising the drinking age, and increasing the price of alcohol.”

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