Minister not in favour of arming police

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Police Minister Stuart Nash says there are no plans to have police officers carry personal firearms.

"I'm not a fan of arming officers at all," says Nash, "Police do have access to firearms- if they need them they have lock boxes in all the cars.  Of course, we have the armed offenders squad when there is a call out, but I'm not in favour of arming police and that's not on the work program going forward."

However, two things that are on the priority list are increasing community policing and tackling gangs.

"We've been taking [gang] assets and what we do know is, you can put them in jail and deprive them of their freedom for a couple of years but you take away their new harleys, their muscle cars, their houses and cash that's what really hurts- so there is that approach," says Nash.

But police need an increase in resources, something Nash says has been missing over the last nine years.

"There hasn't been an increase in funding for police, a measurable increase in funding for police, over the last nine years, so I've seen the population to police ratio go from about 500 population to one officer up to 540," he says.

Nash hopes the new recruitment video drive will help achieve the ambitious goal of attracting 600 new officers every year for the next three years.