Friday, June 12, 2020

Even NZ First gets it

NZ First is a party normally associated with racist "law and order" dogwhistling. But even they think our police are over-armed:

New Zealand First is calling for an independent review into the arming of frontline police officers with military-grade assault rifles.

Semi-automatics are routinely stored in a lock box in patrol cars.

The party says scrapping the Police Armed Response Teams was the right move, but examining police use of guns shouldn't stop there.

Now is the time to also rethink the firearms that officers have access to, their training to use them, and when they used, MP Ron Mark says

"In light of global events, and the fact that we have just confiscated all the semi-automatics across New Zealand, let's have a rethink. We strongly believe police are inappropriately armed against a reduced threat of a disarmed public."

On the one hand, this is welcome. On the other, if Mark really thinks that, then the answer isn't an inquiry, but legislation to restrict ordinary use of firearms to designated specialist units and place safeguards and oversight around their use. Because the level of force police are allowed to use and how is absolutely a political question, and one our politicians can and should be held responsible for.