Monday, September 07, 2015

A political question, not an operational one

Should our police be armed? For most of us, that's a political question, to be decided by politicians and ultimately by the people. But not for Police Minister Michael Woodhouse - instead, he thinks that its an "operational matter" to be decided solely by police:

Giving Tasers to all officers risks the weapons being used when talking could suffice, according to concerns outlined in police documents.

Police bosses ultimately decided that such risks could be minimised and the benefits of giving all officers the weapons outweighed them.

That was their call to make as an operational matter - and Police Minister Michael Woodhouse would likewise not be involved if any future call was made to arm officers with guns.


Mr Woodhouse as Police Minister was told of the Taser expansion once it had been decided by police, and his spokeswoman confirmed any decision to arm police with guns would be the Police Commissioner's call.

[Emphasis added]

So, just to make that clear, the Police Minister, who is supposed to ensure that the police are accountable to us, thinks that they and they alone should be allowed to decide that they should carry guns - and by extension, how many of us they may shoot, and in what circumstances. It is a complete abrogation of his responsibilities, and it suggests that the police ar enot in fact accountable at all. And if that's the case, we'll just have to exert control by other means - starting with repealing sections 3(2)(a)(ii), (iii) and (v) of the Arms Act 1983.