So I picked up my NZ herald this morning and there was the story on the front page, ‘Cops Plan Armed City Patrols‘. They were obviously trying to take advantag of public emotions about the murder of Navtej Singh who got shot by robbers at close range in his liquor store even though he totally cooperated with the little thugs.
Well I’ve got a problem with that. In this instance I read that while the police refused to go and check on him for about half an hour after they arrived, because they were following protocol in an armed offenders alert, but the thing was, according to the story 11 or 12 civilians walked in and out without any problems and the offenders were long gone. great that they caught the bastards but that’s not the point.
In my humble opinion th reason there are so few armed gunfights between police and crims, is because the crims know the police probably don’t have firearms, or at least have to get the from the glove box of the car, rather than just wearing them as side arms.
One of the main reasons I did not takeup very lucrative offers to live and work overseas and in particular in the USA was because I wanted my kids to grow up in a country where they can walk along the street and not feel in danger. I believe a major reason for that is because the police don’t carry pistols or rifles as a matter of course. I have no doubt that if crims feel that they are likely to be killed by the police, they will start shooting back and both sides will be the losers. With a lot of violent crims, I wouldn’t be too upset if they died in the course of their criminal activities, but I’m not too keen on police or bystanders being killed in the process.
I believe there are alternatives. They are looking at Taser rifles without wires that can fire up to 20 meters away and there are also rifles that fire bean bags full of shot. In most cases these weapons would not kill anyone. New Zealand may be one of the last countries in the world to have permanently armed police, but we are probably also one of the last countries in the world where if someone gets shot, most people in the country know their name. That’s a pretty good record.
So here’s the thing, once you start a trial and have all sorts of anecdotal stories of how effective it is with selected PR, just like we got with the taser trials; and then it gets introduced, you can’t ever go back. Troubled areas like some in South Auckland will become violent hotspots and there will be to many names to remember. The gangs will start driving around with weapons and drive buys will become common instead of something that causes outrage a few times a year. Police will be killed in the line of duty and it will become much harder to get good people on the force. Police will totally lose respect of the citizens in some areas and children will grow up fearing and hating the cops.
Lets maintain the status quo. We have armd offenders squads who are trained professionals, used in times of emergance. I don’t mind having more of them, but leave that stuff to those with the specialised training, not to all of them. Our country will be safer and more people will be able to continue to live happily in our country.
If the trials go ahead, I’ll have to look back at this blog in 2 or 3 years time and to some it might seem prophetic, wasn’t I clever to figure out what the politicians and police commanders couldn’t. No, it’ not prescience, it’s common sense.