In the Loop: Ex West Auckland police officer on gun violence & More News Here

“Gun violence was very prominent in West Auckland … it’s starting to become the norm,” a former police officer says. Photo / NZME

A West Auckland cop who just lately left the pressure says gun violence is changing into the “norm” and a few officers’ nervousness goes “through the roof”.

The former officer, who was solely on the pressure for 4 years, informed the Herald’s In the Loop podcast that “gun jobs” had elevated throughout his time on the beat, however household hurt call-outs had been their day by day “bread and butter”.

“Gun violence was very prominent in West Auckland… it’s starting to become the norm,” he stated.

“You do feel unsafe at times.”

Earlier this 12 months the Herald revealed police finishing up their duties had come throughout greater than 10,000 firearms in the previous three years. That information confirmed police had been averaging about 10 firearms every day.

The 25-year-old stated whereas he was an officer it was scary figuring out at some point he is perhaps at an incident the place there was a firearm.

“It goes hand-in-hand with gangs, instead of it being a bust-up or a brawl on the street, it’s now someone’s brought a gun.”

The former officer was working the day Constable Matthew Hunt was tragically shot and killed by a gang member throughout a routine visitors cease in West Auckland in June 2020.

Hunt’s homicide shocked the nation. The 28-year-old was the first time a New Zealand officer had died in the line of responsibility since 2009.

In the aftermath, the man’s station was rocked “dramatically” and it made lots of people not wish to go into work.

“No one had been to anything like that. It was really tough to see the station just go hollow. We didn’t know if this was just a one-off or something we just had to get used to.

“My nervousness was up, the strain was on,” he said.

The former cop, who is in favour of general arming, moved off the frontline not long after Hunt’s death to work in the family harm unit before deciding to leave the police.

He said the pressures of being a young officer as well as the growing toll of attending “high-level jobs” were part of the reason he left the force.

“No one is bringing a knife any extra; everyone seems to be bringing a gun.

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“A knife I can deal with, but a gun I can’t stop.”

He stated police didn’t wish to shoot because it was “horrible” to let off even one spherical, however stated: “I find it hard for people to critique the person or the police that shoot when they don’t know the full facts. And also you have not been in that situation where either a knife is held to you or a gun is held to you. What are you going to do?

“They do not know what that scenario is like if you’re in a hall and there is rounds coming down at you.”

The former officer said police don’t shoot to kill, they shoot to incapacitate.

"No one is bringing a knife any more; everyone is bringing a gun," the former West Auckland police offer says. Photo / NZME
“No one is bringing a knife any extra; everyone seems to be bringing a gun,” the former West Auckland police provide says. Photo / NZME

A report by police last year, after Hunt’s death, noted that evidence indicated that routine arming of police could increase risks to public safety and the number of people shot, rather than improving safety of police and the public.

“It is inconclusive about whether or not it might make our employees safer,” the report said.

Last year a biennial survey run by NielsenIQ of almost 6000 Police Association members found 73 per cent support for general arming of the police constabulary, the highest level in a decade.

The survey found one in four general duties officers were threatened with a firearm in 2020, and one in eight officers overall were threatened with a gun.

Police Association president Chris Cahill echoed these figures, but accepted that arming police would come with risk and that would require a considerable amount of increased training.

“We would a lot favor and our members would a lot favor that the risk of firearms was decreased, so that they did not have to be armed.”

NZ Police Association president Chris Cahill in his Wellington office. Photo / Mark Mitchell
NZ Police Association president Chris Cahill in his Wellington workplace. Photo / Mark Mitchell

An RNZ investigation this year found New Zealand police kill at 11 times the rate of police in England and Wales.

RNZ reported most of those shot by police are Māori, reflecting the fact police use of all types of force – including guns, Tasers and batons – is disproportionately directed at young, Māori men.

Māori men aged 17 to 40 were just 3 per cent of New Zealand’s population but made up 34 per cent of use of force incidents by police, it said.

That report said New Zealand police had killed 39 people since 1990, whereas police in England and Wales have fatally shot 77 people over that time – twice as many as in New Zealand but in a population more than 10 times greater than ours.

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Cahill said those statistics could not be ignored, but the underlying cause needed to be examined.

“I can consider two massive variations in contrast with another jurisdictions. One is as a result of police are usually not usually armed plenty of offenders are shocked after they confront a police officer with a firearm. In Australia you understand a police officer has a gun on their hip so that you’re quite a bit much less more likely to strategy a police officer in a scenario that would get you shot.”

“The second problem is the prevalence of firearms and the availability of firearms in New Zealand. We had been in contrast with the UK on the variety of police shootings, however the actuality in the United Kingdom is it is extremely laborious to get a firearm.”

In the Loop is a NZ Herald podcast.

• In the Loop is available on iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes come out every Friday morning.

• You can discover extra New Zealand Herald podcasts at nzherald.co.nz/podcasts or on iHeartRadio.

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