Why arming Police as a response to rising gun violence is a really bad idea


I think that the are two reasons why arming Police as a response to rising gun violence is a really bad idea.

The first is that the majority of Police outside the Armed Offenders Squads and anti terrorist teams don’t have much gun training. You want a Police Officer to be highly trained before they are drawing weapons on members of the public.

Poorly trained cops plus guns = bad social policy.

The second reason I think arming Police as a response to rising gun violence is a bad idea is because it misses the drivers of that gun violence and if you don’t understand why it’s happening the solution might exacerbate the problem not fix it.

We are seeing a unique event in the NZ criminal underworld. Never before has an influx of a far more violent gang dynamic impacted the domestic gangs the way the forced renditions of 501s from Australia has.

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Not all 501s are criminals and we urgently need to provide huge resources and wrap around services for these men who desperately need help building a life in a country they barely know.

However, a large percentage of the 501s ARE heavy, heavy criminals from the Australian underworld and they have formed syndicates to take over the local gangs.

That’s the violence we are seeing, it’s a market take over by Australian criminals prepared to use a level of violence way beyond the domestic gangs ever have.

Kiwis have been lulled into a false narrative spun by National and ACT that our gangs are the worst in the world when really they are very tame compared to the Australian professional class of violent organized crime.

What makes the 501s especially dangerous is their connections to South American Cartels who are another level of Uber violence. They get a cheaper & purer meth which buys them greater market share.

Arming Police when the driver of the gun violence is a market take over by a far more violent and invasive species of criminal isn’t a solution.

The solution is a secret sit down between the Police Intelligence Unit and all the domestic gangs to take out the 501s with the gangs giving the Police all the evidence they need for a mass syndicate take down.

Such a level of co-operation isn’t as impossible as it sounds, this Government managed to get all the domestic gangs to film a message to get all gang members vaccinated, those lines of communication could easily be used again.

The 501s and their South American Cartel links are a dangerously destabilizing influence in NZ. Working with the domestic gangs to set up the 501s and take down the new royalty of organized crime in NZ would require planning and immense strategy but would amputate a new class of dangerous criminal before they take root.

THAT would stop rising gun crime because you’d remove the violence escalator that is the 501s.


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  1. Routinely arming Police means that every interaction with an officer, is an armed interaction. Since officers in the US are sometimes shot by their own weapons after being disarmed by an offender who didn’t previously have a weapon, it changes the way you confront people who could potentially be hostile (technically anyone). Simply talking to someone who could grab your holstered weapon or grapple with you is a danger to an armed officer. If someone comes with 10m of an armed officer, they need to draw their firearm, if the potential threat (anyone) continues to approach, they need to open fire should the “threat” come within 5m of them, because within that distance a person can be on top of you before you have time to react and then they may have your firearm. Since the average Police officer has a hard time reliably hitting a static man sized target at 7m, due to the woefully poor amount of training & practice they receive, the usual solution is to put more lead in the air and since a Glock usually holds around 17 rounds, that makes for a lot of potential for accidental shootings of bystanders.


    The other issue is that the best defence against an armed person, is to shoot them first, this applies to both cops & criminals, so Police officers shouldn’t expect their jobs to become safer just because they have a 9mm on their hip, especially since many of the criminals firing at Police these days seem to be using military styled semi-automatic rifles with high capacity magazines of the type Nash “successfully” removed from the “streets”.

    Routine arming of Police leads to more armed interactions, which leads to more shootings by Police and since Maori are more likely to interact with Police officers, they are more likely to bear the brunt of any policy change (they are already considerably more likely to be shot by Police as it is). It also forces criminals to be increasingly armed and to fire first when confronted by Police.

    Here’s an example from NZ of what happens when you have poorly trained officers armed with military style weapons. 35 shots fired by Police, 2 hit the offender, the rest went somewhere else, and immediately down “range” was a room full of people at a community meeting, it was only by luck (and poor shooting) that no one was killed.

  2. Nevertheless, as things are at the moment the cop on the beat, every cop who is out there, is putting his or her life on the line, for the rest of us.

    • Yeah, it’s like every day we hear about cops being murdered! Oh wait:
      Turns out being a cop is actually one of the safer occupations, especially if you compare it to agriculture, forestry and construction, pro sports etc. Putting a gun in their hands will be seen as provocation by not only criminals but also the mentally unstable, those affected by alcohol/drugs etc – it will lead to a massive increase in deaths (not to mention accidental shootings) on all sides.

    • Kheala Well said, again. I’ve been encouraging a female supermarket manger to join the police. She is smart, hard working, great personality, and could do well under the accelerated / whatever pathways which they have for competent Maori women. I’m feeling bad about it now, especially with police being assaulted on a weekly basis because they are seen as the enemy, based on historical mistakes, insidious cherry-picking, and racism.

      The cold -blooded shooting of young Constable Matthew Hunt, a lad brought up without a dad, chilled me as a parent whose children also lost their father at too young an age. The prognosis for children without fathers in their lives isn’t the best, but this young guy emerged ok, a credit to his mother, her only son, and wiped out for no good reason. We know the emotional burden which they themselves carry, they are our neighbours doing an increasingly dangerous job, and some of the hostility towards them is deranged, and comes from
      haters too gutless to do the job themselves. The nicest ( and best-looking) boy in my third form class become a police officer, and by seventh form my best friend’s father was a senior police officer, and most are fine people, although some obviously under par. Politicians don’t like them, and use them as their tools, but anyone who’s experienced the police in other countries knows that they’re pretty good.

      Body cams are inevitable, including to protect the police themselves, but in my lifetime I expect to see the army take over more of their functions, and if a few crooks get shot, I won’t be crying about it, and I would not now encourage anybody to become a cop.

      • Well said, a common sense post among the wails of the armchair warriors. Except for the last paragraph, let yourself down on that one.

  3. The problem is the Australian gangs are now intertwined with the locals. Sure at a pawn level the clowns still all fight each other however the bosses behind the scene are in each others’ pockets.

    Unfortunately the nature and frequency of gun violence in New Zealand warrants guns. You can’t have shootings every second day in Auckland and then expect Police to patrol without them. That is the equivalent of going to a gun fight with a baton. It is unfair on police and arguably in contradiction with workplace safety laws.

    We have a major problem and believing we can all sit round the camp fire and sing Kumbaya is lunacy.

    • The Police do have guns, they are just not “routinely” armed. If they need them they are there, just not on their hips at all times. If they need military styled assault rifles, they’re just in the boot. Almost every time the Police pop in for a friendly visit in our neighbourhood, there’s a Glock on the hip, exactly why I’m not sure. Domestic violence at a gang connected drug dealers place, yes, but recovering a stolen motor scooter? Unless they knew something I didn’t, 8 armed officers seemed a little on the heavy side. We also had an interesting experience as we were lurking in the shadows on night, when two Police cars pulled up and four officers got out and proceeded to chamber rounds in their Glocks before making a “social” call on one of our neighbours who wasn’t home. If they noticed us they didn’t indicate they did, but not exactly the most comfortable feeling.

      Most of the time Police arrive after a crime has been committed and the offender has fled, so you don’t need a weapon for that. If you are visiting an address where there is a likelihood of firearms being present, then you can put the gun on your hip. If you are trying to apprehend an armed offender, then you have the armed offenders squad specifically for that and they tend to be fairly good at arresting people without having to shoot them. Route traffic stops are a potentially hazardous situation for Police, but very few law-abiding drivers would appreciate being asked for their licence at gunpoint by a nervous officer with their finger on the trigger of a Glock with a round chambered. Many Police shootings are the result of officers backing themselves in to situations where shooting someone becomes the only alternative available. Police have plenty of access to firearms, what they lack is the practice & training to use them effectively, and the wisdom to know when to deploy them. An arms race makes no one safer.

      • The theory that guns in safes is all that is required fails the test when unexpectedly, as has happened a number of times recently, the person they least expected to be armed points a gun at the cop, and pulls the trigger. Very slow draw whilst the cop says to the criminal, hang on there, I’ll just get my keys out, get back to my car/go around and open the boot, unlock the safe, take the gun out and point it back at you! See you in a couple of minutes.

        The guns in safes idea is a compromise to make some people in Wellington who will never be confronted by a gun feel better about themselves that this country hasnt got a big problem with guns, when it clearly has!.

        • Unless your gun is out and ready to fire, it is useless. If your safety depends on the fact the you can draw and accurately fire 2 rounds into the offenders head/chest before any of their unexpected shots connect with you, then most of the time you are dead. Most Police officers aren’t John Wick, most have a hard time reliably hitting a static target at 7m. Some officers join a Pistol Club, get their B-cat, and practice regularly in their own time and at their own cost, but these officers are much rarer & the practice isn’t officially encouraged. Some officers managed to shoot themselves in their arse, such is the level of firearms competency. Gun fights in streets do not make for safer communities.

          If you treat every interaction as hostile and prepare accordingly, gun out & aimed, you will end up killing innocent people reaching for their IDs etc. You never know whether the smiling businessman has a Glock on his lap, 20Kgs of product in the boot of his Audi, together with a former co-worker wrapped in a shower curtain and $100K of his Boss’s money or is just running late to an urgent business meeting. Is the car full of tattooed Maori just heading out to work and are carpooling or dangerous gang members? You know who is going to be give the benefit of doubt and who is going to be staring down the barrel of a Police issued Glock?

          A gun on your hip removes options, it doesn’t improve safety. If the unexpected happens, then usually your best option is to retreat & seek cover. If an offender draws a weapon to evade capture, then they may not necessarily fire on a retreating target (moving targets are also harder to hit), but should an officer attempt to draw a weapon, then they need to put them down fast, to avoid being potentially killed themselves. The most powerful weapon/tool a Police officer has is their radio, not a gun.

          Most offenders are known and can be easily apprehended later, with all the appropriate resources and planning in place. Criminals always have an advantage because they know what they are going to do and are allowed to do anything. Police cannot operate a “shoot first & ask questions later” policy, so are only able to react. The Police’s advantage comes from their numbers, teamwork, skills, information technology & communications, not superior firepower.

  4. Correct Arming Police is not the best idea as the Crims are more likely to shoot first if they know they are being pursued by Armed Officers. They may think twice and weigh up the pro’s and con’s if they know Officers are going to seek a peaceful conclusion to the current situation. IMO.

  5. “Working with the domestic gangs to set up the 501s and take down the new royalty of organized crime in NZ would require planning and immense strategy but would amputate a new class of dangerous criminal before they take root”

    What does that mean? It reads like assisting established gangs to remove the competition. And if that is the case, how? With guns? It’s not going to be in group therapy sessions.

    The immediate problem for police, and I agree with many things Mike the Lefty says is, but these guys are pulling guns on cops and each other now, right now and they don’t have the brain capacity to not pull the trigger. We don’t have the luxury of months or years of policy implementation to see if that works. It’s a ratchet effect, these fuckers have guns and they ain’t giving them up. Too hard out and too hard man for anything less nowadays.

    The control of guns is lost, it’s lethal out there and you cannot expect police to just use their good looks to defuse losers with guns when they don’t have them, themselves!

    • X-ray. But it was suggested to me by a lawyer, that the reasons young guys pull a gun and shoot at a police officer who stops them on a routine matter, is that they think that the police are going to shoot them, so they get in and fire at them first. . I don’t expect to get shot if I’m pulled up, and I never have been, but there’s a sub-culture groomed to see the police as the enemy who are out to get them.

      Others have rightly commented about the lack of police visibility in the community, and the disappearance of the community constables, some of whom did a lot of pro-active good in their local communities, and this is due to lack of funding from politicians who tend live in sheltered and sometimes privileged surroundings, divorced from social reality.

      Ongoing harassment I’ve experienced could have been ameliorated by the avuncular community cop we used to have, even though my creepy harasser isn’t breaking any law. We have two or three nutters who pester females at the local mall and the shopkeepers are reluctant do anything about them; I know this because I’ve spoken with them.

      The supermarket Covid security guards now hover around eg dumped charity shop donations. Great. The community constable had a Sallies’s plunderer who stole and sold online on Trade Me, charged and appear in court. She, incidentally, was an Asian lady from a “ good “ nearby street, not a cold youngster needing warm clothes. There is little police visibility now, just the sound of sirens.

  6. This is a Government, Police Leadership and Police Association that are professional low-hanging fruit pickers though. So far on firearms law and crime management they have immediately fallen for the easy but ineffective action (Ban .22s with a magazine capacity over 10 rounds!!), rather than the hard and effective (steps such as you outline here).

    They will target the law-abiding with more legislation, or hand more arms to Police, and tout their good intentions. They dont often seem to get asked if they achieve good outcomes.

    Unfortunately when it comes to gangs and to firearms crime, we get legislation written by those that dont understand, passed by those that dont care.

  7. When someone in the forestry industry is killed at work there is shoulder shrugging indifference. When there is potential for a cop to be killed at work there is a campaign to upend laws and arm them to the teeth. Maybe the safest option for the police then is to take staff from the dangerous beat and place them on covid checkpoints out of Auckland. They could show solidarity with Jacinda’s unjustified extended lockdowns (independent of health advice) in a virtuous safe space with absolutely no risk to their health from the public. Literally, no risk. Or, they could be stationed at Parliament and surrounds to catch the coke heads running the country, also known as the UK model.

  8. If we really care about the safety of our officers then get rid of the woke Coster and we’ll be halfway there. Oh why we’re at it, get a Minister for Police who actually cares about them more than the criminals.

    • Bg. The appointment of Poto Williams as Minister of Police is one of the several things which has made me most cynical about the Labour govt. If much thought did go into it, it is even more people perplexing.

    • I love how your post is so racist you need to hide behind a pseudonym.

      The oft quoted ‘but 501s are only 2% of gangs’ makes the person sound like they have an insight which they don’t.

      That’s the percentage of 501s who enter EXISTING GANGS YOU FUCKWIT!

      The 501 syndicates are working amongst themselves, they aren’t joining other gangs you spectacular moron.

    • It’s not the numbers that count, it’s the knowledge, skills & connections they have, and the ruthlessness with which they are applied that changes the nature of the game, and we are currently seeing the results on “the streets”.

  9. Martyn, I agree with most of what you said, especially the bit about training. The average cop is utterly hopeless with a firearm, regardless of training. And the police don’t have a fraction of the budget to regularly train.

    Where we disagree is when you say “Kiwis have been lulled into a false narrative spun by National and ACT that our gangs are the worst in the world”. Nobody in those parties has ever said that. Instead they are saying we should have sufficient prison capacity to lock them up and sentencing rules to ensure they stay inside.

  10. Legalize ALL DRUGS.
    Most of the violence we are seeing is due to unpaid drug debts caused by lock-downs.
    Oh to have a government with the vision and nous of Portugal.
    Fat Chance !.

    • Legalise all drugs and have some turd with a head full of methamphetamine behind the wheel of a car ? Cutting granny’s hedge ? Supervising a play date ? Working as a property manger ? Driving a school bus ?
      Running out of money for whatever ? Confronting A&E staff ?

      • This offers some insight into how Portugal handles the drugs issue (drugs are still illegal, Portugal has just decriminalized the personal possession of all drugs)…

        The illegal drug industry finances organized crime, is one of the drivers of petty crime as users need to pay for their expensive drugs and results in the imprisonment of people with health/addiction issues. The illegal drug trade is a blight on our communities and fuels violence as “players” scramble to reap the massive profits. We currently handle this issues very badly, so we need to explore better solution because the ones we currently use definitely aren’t working.

        Also remember that alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs in NZ, it is legal but if you drive or turn up to work under the influence, you may find yourself in court or looking for a new job.

        • Richard Slade. If you drive to work under the influence, you may also kill another person or two on the way – but what you’re doing to your liver is your business.A few puffs of a cigarette are unlikely to cause a road accident or make you take a swipe at some deserving or undeserving other,

          Underlying Ayesha Verrall’s pious comments about tobacco smoking is a silence about what social damage or destruction nicotine does to outliers, which is zilch compared to what drunks can do, but socialising with alcohol is a given among the ruling classes, while smoking tobacco is on a par with baby bashing. Banning it will produce another prohibition era type social dynamic, with a black market, and more lucrative illegal business. A ban on sugar could have a major positive effect on community health, and save quite a few tax dollars, but government wouldn’t have the gumption or the honesty to try that one.

  11. Wait a minute! With all the busts they make. The cops are the ones with all the meth, guns, cash and intel.

    What am I missing here?

    And they want more ‘powers’. Time for a kit kat I recks.

  12. Beyond the 501s we are also seeing the confluence of the failed neoliberal experiment and covid-19. There is more desperation and distress in the community and individuals than there has been in a long time. This is likely to increase, especially as the impact of climate change intensifies.

  13. I agree Martyn, routine arming the Police will not make them or us any safer. Additional resources to hassle the extreme gangs would provide far better outcomes. Interesting idea of working with the less extreme Ao/NZ gangs to confront oversea’s controlled ones, well worth considering. Also gang control within our prisons has to be stopped.

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