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Police To Use Bushmaster Rifles Over Glocks

Police escalate arms carried without public discussion or independent oversight

Yet a further escalation in police arming themselves was announced on Friday afternoon with no public discussion and no independent oversight.

The police media release was timed for 2.34pm – a dead-news time designed to avoid public scrutiny.

The police have decided to use the Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle as their preferred option in dealing with armed situations. Previously this weapon was deployed only by the Armed Offenders Squad. Now it is to be used by frontline police in any situations where arms may be involved. (It will replace the Glock pistol which till now has had this preferred roll)

GPJA is concerned this ongoing escalation in arming of police is seen by the police and the government as “operational decisions” for the police themselves to make.

We reject this absolutely. These must be community decisions because all of us will have to live with the consequences.

With more powerful weapons more readily available the huge danger is that weapons such as this semi-automatic rifle will come to be used as the first response (as in the US) rather than as a last response. We have seen this with the police use of pepper-spray where the original guidelines have gone out the window and it is used “willy-nilly” by front line police.

Safeguarding the police and the community is best served by careful, independent oversight of decisions about the arms police carry.

The police in New Zealand must not be a law unto themselves as they are in many other countries with disastrous results for the police as well as the community.

John Minto



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