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Armed Cops Will Make Communities Unsafe Warn Justice Critics

The decision to arm police officers in Christchurch is dangerous, and
calculated to expand Police powers, say criminal justice community
organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA). The decision was
made after two related incidents in which police officers were shot at.
No police officers were reported injured in the incidents.

“Last year, the Independent Police Conduct Authority received more than
2,500 complaints of police misconduct. By the Police’s own statistics,
Māori are nearly 8 times more likely than Pākehā to be made the victim
of police violence,” said Kate McIntyre, spokesperson for PAPA.
“Violence by the police is out of control, and getting worse.”

“Police have a track record of opting for the most extreme force
available to them. Last year two officers shot and killed Jerrim Toms,
despite having less lethal options available to them.”

In 2018, Auckland man Jerrim Toms was shot and killed by police officers
when they alleged he approached them threateningly. The officers were
armed with tasers, but opted instead to shoot him with firearms. Toms
died at the scene.

“Putting firearms in the hands of police will result in more situations
being escalated. This policy will do nothing to keep people safe. It
increases the risk of police shootings.”

PAPA is concerned that the decision represents part of an effort to
achieve full police armament, rather than any legitimate safety concern.

“If the Police have reason to believe that more gun violence is imminent
in Christchurch, how does arming every random officer in the city
address that danger?” asks McIntyre. “If the Police do not have reason
to believe that more gun violence is imminent, how can they justify
arming all frontline police officers? The police are exploiting a
high-profile incident to trial an expansion of Police powers by
stealth.”

“This decision is an effort to bypass a public conversation about
whether or not we actually want every cop to be carrying a gun. It will
lead to more shootings by Police.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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