Caution needed on calls to arm police

There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says.

“As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status, our police do an incredible job. An unarmed police force sends a strong symbolic message that the police trust the public, and in turn that results in New Zealanders trusting the police.

“There have been repeated calls for officers to carry guns and there is an obvious need to weigh up safety concerns with putting police at risk.

 “On the other hand there is no strong evidence to show that the public, or police, are safer if officers are armed. In fact arming police can have the opposite effect - with weapons being used against police or the public if they fall into the wrong hands, and escalating conflicts.

 “As someone with a brother in the police force I am acutely aware of the need to balance the safety of both police and the public,” Kelvin Davis said.