Friday, October 18, 2019

We need to bring the police under control

The last decade has seen a trend of increasing weapons availability to police. Assault rifles. Tasers on every hip. Guns in cars. And following the march 15 massacre, pistols on every hip, all over the country. At the same time, its also seen an increase in the abuse of force: the police routinely present firearms at unarmed people, taser people in the back without justification, and have shot more people in the last 10 years than the previous 40. We're getting near-daily reports from the Independent Police Conduct Authority of police using force unlawfully or displaying poor judgement with fatal consequences. And the police's response to all of this is to escalate it some more:

Special police vehicles carrying trained armed officers will routinely patrol Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury in a police trial that hopes to cut down response times to serious incidents involving firearms.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush is expected to make the announcement in Counties Manukau this morning.


The vehicles will be manned by armed offenders squad (AOS) members who would be ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed.

It is understood to be similar to what has been rolled out in the UK, where armed response vehicles have been adapted to accommodate specialist equipment.

So "our" police are going to be rolling through our poorest, brownest neighbourhoods (of course) in armoured black SUVs (of course), suited up in stormtrooper suits and carrying assault rifles, looking for trouble. This isn't a democratic police force under any recognisable version of the Peelian Principles - it is an army of occupation, or a death squad. Its not policing by consent anymore - its naked repression by paramilitary force. And the inevitable consequence of armed, hyped-up police going looking for people to shoot is that they will shoot people, without justification - just like they do in America. We desperately need to bring the police back under control, before that happens.