Police Kill 50 New Zealanders In 5 Years
Police data shows that they have killed 37 people by initiating high-speed car chases and killed a further 13 people by shooting them, say community group People Against Prisons Aotearoa. The data comes as the Police Association renews calls for police armament, following an unsuccessful trial that ended in 2020 amid public uproar. People Against Prisons Aotearoa say police armament is unwanted and unnecessary.
“New Zealand’s police force is already armed,” says the group’s spokesperson, Emilie Rākete. “As police data shows, they shoot and kill New Zealanders frequently enough as it is. Putting guns on their hips instead of in their cars will not make anybody safer, but it will allow more cops to make the snap decision to end somebody’s life.”
The group cites the routine arming of police officers with tasers as an example of the danger when carrying weapons is normalised.
“The police said that giving them tasers would mean they could deescalate dangerous situations more easily. Instead it led to a crisis of police violence in which one in five people electrocuted by police officers is experiencing a mental health emergency. Arming cops with guns would see them executing mentally ill people in the street, as they do in the United State of America today.”
Police chase statistics show almost 40 people have been killed in high-speed chases. People Against Prisons Aotearoa says this shows the police have consistently failed to consider the public good.
“The police primarily initiate car chases in response to low-level, non-violent offending. The result is bystander deaths and crashed cars full of teenagers who either die on impact or burn alive in the wreckage. The police accepted these killings as normal for years and repeatedly refused to adopt a sane chase policy. These deaths show that public safety means nothing to the police and they will use firearms with the same reckless abandon if they are allowed to do so.”