Police Minister Stuart Nash has extended his sympathies to the Police and residents of Richmond in Christchurch who were caught up in the overnight shooting.
“The shooting in Christchurch and another in Kawerau last week are distressing for Police who put themselves in harm’s way in order to keep the public safe,” Mr Nash says.
“It has also been frightening for members of the public caught up in both events, and upsetting for the whanau and family of the offenders who have been shot. I extend my sympathies to them also.
“Police is one of the few organisations where the very nature of your job means you must be prepared to run towards danger. Every day the 13,000 members of the organisation go to work focussed on preventing crime and keeping communities safe.
“I won’t comment on the detail of the incidents, as an offender is in custody in Christchurch and official investigations by Police and the IPCA have begun for each shooting.
“However the Coalition Government is providing Police with the resources they need to deal with crimes involving firearms and with the wider problem of gangs and organised crime. Just last month Police announced a $20-million programme to improve the body armour for all Police, and officers are already being supplied with the new protection.
“The rollout of 1800 additional officers is also proceeding at pace, and we are already about a third of our way towards meeting this target. Canterbury District will receive an extra 121 frontline officers, an increase of 14 per cent above current numbers. Bay of Plenty District, which includes Kawerau, will receive 125 additional officers, an increase of 19 per cent.
“We are also tackling organised crime in order to prevent associated crimes such as violence, burglaries, and firearms offending. An extra 700 Police, from within the 1800 allocation, will be dedicated to organised crime initiatives.
“There are no plans to change penalties for firearms offences or to change the firearms licensing system. Firing a weapon at a Police officer can earn a jail sentence of up to 14 years under the Crimes Act.
“There are changes underway to some aspects of the Arms Act, in order to modernise the administration of firearms laws. Police are moving away from the manual paper-based system to a more consistent regime across the country as they try to improve services,” Mr Nash says.