Friday, May 25, 2012

Police drunk in charge of guns

Alcohol and firearms don't mix, to the extent that being drunk in charge of a firearm is a criminal offence. But apparently, it's OK if you are a member of the New Zealand Police:

Fourteen armed offenders squad members who responded to a hostage siege in Opunake in which a gunman was shot dead had been drinking beforehand, police have revealed.


Assistant Commissioner operations Nick Perry said the fact members of the AOS had been drinking before responding came to light during the inquiry into Ratahi's shooting.

The amount of alcohol drunk by the officers varied from a glass of wine with a meal to five pints during the previous five hours, Mr Perry said.

The officer who fired the fatal shot had not been drinking, but it really makes you wonder how many other times police are pissed on duty, or have their judgement impaired by "a few drinks" before work? We know they have a heavy-drinking culture, but when they're on-call, that's pretty obviously inconsistent with the job.

Naturally, no criminal charges have been laid - laws are for peasants, not the boys in blue - but it has at least resulted in a change in policy to clarify that AOS members rostered on for duty may not drink. It remains to be seen whether that policy will be adhered to in practice, or whether police will actually punish those of their own who violate it.