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Storm in a bobby's teacup

jamesrobins January 17, 2013, 2:22 pm

Since around 2007, police have been wearing stab-proof vests largely resistant to knife attacks, dog bites, and so on. Our strict gun controls are to thank for this, otherwise our cops would be required to don something far heavier.

We don’t live in a Judge Dredd-style society (thankfully) where The Fuzz are given wide-ranging powers to kill or incarcerate who they like; let’s not forget that the role of the police is to investigate breaches of the law, and make sure offenders are bought before the courts. .

Throat-clearing aside, the brouhaha courting headlines since the weekend is of such little importance one wonders why we’re even hearing about it to begin with.

For background: Constable Perry Griffin – sole charge cop in a town called Kawhia – was assaulted by five men who took exception to their mate being under arrest and threatened with a taser, pepper spray, and a handgun.

This is two-line-copy content here. It’s a sad and regrettable story destined for the court archives and little more, but the ever-opportunistic Labour Party has jumped on it.

They claim police officers are facing staff shortages and pay freezes – the real reason why Griffen had to be rescued by the local volunteer fire brigade rather than a fellow buddy in blue.

There’s a point here, and a reasonable one at that.

What comes next, though, is far above and beyond good taste: the Police Association insisting that all cops in the country be armed at all times.

I think this says something about the police union’s self esteem when it comes to encountering violent people under arrest for whatever reason. Between a baton, pepper-spray, a taser, and some kind of firearm kept in the patrol car, what could they possibly face (aside from being a lone policeman in a small town) that could lead to such a demand?

It’s yet another case of bizarre political point scoring after a very small, very human incident.

And besides, is anyone genuinely considering such a draconian measure? I can guarantee that putting a 9mm in the hands of the everyday beat cop would lead to far more offenders being shot and killed than immobilized and restrained with pepper spray or a taser.

As for Fairfax and their selective publication of photos of the incident? Well, I’m hesitant to hand over the judge’s gavel to a witness who claimed that the lone officer in Kawhia was the aggressor, let alone a witness related to the chap on the receiving end of Griffen’s cuffs.

But I still wouldn’t go so far as to label their report as rampant sensationalism, as the pictures accompanying the article seem to line up with both the police, and witness accounts.

I’ll admit, it’s an attention-grabbing headline – LONE COP BASHED BY MOB – but nothing more.

It’s certainly not a tale of systemic issues in how small communities are policed, nor a dramatic indictment of a constable’s protection while walking the beat, and it’s certainly not a contentious allegation of a police cover-up, however slight.

So let’s read this for what it is: a tragic attack by a mob on a police officer. If police investigative prowess is half as good as we’re told, then these thugs and dilettantes will be pulled before a court and will get what’s coming to them.

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  1. George10:45am Friday 29th March 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Geeza it seems your comments are a racial slur against maori. If they are than why?

  2. Te Boppa02:00pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Get real Murray. Blatant Murder what absolute garbage. That Christchurch offender brought his demise upon himself. Possibly suicide by cop, so be it, one less drugged up psycho for the system to care for.

  3. Happy12:33pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Get whats coming to them... Are you joking ?? Probably a smack on the wrist with a wet bus ticket.. Mandatory 20 years in jail for attacking a police officer would slow the next one down. But of course they ve had a hard little life etc etc etc

  4. Dave11:19am Tuesday 22nd January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    What the police need is better hand to hand training. Especially with the baton. The baton is an excellent weapon, non-lethal but easily able to thwart a group of 5 attackers. My son trains in the Phillipino martial art of Eskrima, which is essentially stick fighting, and not only is it easy to learn, but it is far cheaper to teach these techniques than to buy, arm and train all the officers with guns. The attackers would probably require medical attention, but that's what you get for attacking a man with a baton. Even if the cop is wrong, if you just go along with whatever they say, yes sir, no sir, 3 bags full, go down to the station and calmly sort it all out. All you're going to waste is a few hours of your life. No big deal. But the more you protest and the more you struggle, the harder it's going to be on you.

  5. Murray12:23pm Monday 21st January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Notwithstanding the blatant murder of a out of control suspect on Stanmore Road Christchurch by a cop who was also implicated in a previous suspicious shooting,It is my firm belief that our Police should carry side arms as normal equipment.The mere sight of a glock would stop most violent crims,those that dont stop, well, that's their choice. The Police ,all the same ,should only use their weapon as an extreme last resort and to be accountable to a completely independant group after any incident. I have little confidence in the present IPCA as they are always reluctant to find any fault with the Police no matter what.

  6. GRAHAM11:57am Monday 21st January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    I am of the opinion that anyone who attacks/hits/interferes with any policeman, fireman, ambulance officer or other figure of authority should get an instant jail sentence - no leeway allowed

  7. pauleyathome03:20pm Sunday 20th January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Another dumb pig had his tazer ripped off him in nothhland and nearly used against him so if he had had a gun he wulda been shot.-give the filth guns and see what happenes but dont say i didnt warn you...the crims are armed and will become more so and the shooting will start just like the states...bring it on- its about time some of more aggresive cops were taken out!!

  8. pauleyathome03:12pm Sunday 20th January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    I agree,i would have been killed by 4 police thugs in west auckland last year and im now facing a 20 grand trial to prove my innocence.My parents were peppersprayed and dad is 80.give the idiot pigs guns and see what happens.the body count will rise rapidly_ON BOTH SIDES!!!!! i used to be pro police but not any more,my family despise the lying lowlife bastards.have you wondered why this sorta incident is happening more and more???theres no respect for the (force)anymore.they have blown all that 20 yrs ago and the new pigs think theyre yank cops!!!-i say arm the useless #$%$ and watch what happens..i never pull over for them,never speak to them and would happily watch a lone pig get beaten to a pulp and do nothing!.nz is a police state...such a shame its happened

  9. Oglet12:51pm Sunday 20th January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    In response to GC - does the blue side really have a "clear" majority? Not in terms of those who voted National they don't. They only hang in there because of the bank-rupt Yellow side (ACT), the dwindling and divided "brown" side, and good ol' boy Peter Dunne. Hardly a clear majority. On the other hand, the opposition is hardly united either and it is difficult to see how they could form a cohesive Government either. It is the job of the opposition to critique everything about the Government, so that is what they are doing. Just as well they are too, given its dreadful performance.

  10. Peter10:26am Sunday 20th January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    I agree, Robin (wow - that's 3 times we've agreed now! ;-)). Arming NZ Police at all times isn't the answer. I also agree that we'll end up with more shootings vs using "non-lethal" means. And lets not forget, once the Police are fully armed at all times, more crims will seriously consider doing the same themselves. The real argument isn't should we or shouldnt we arm Police. The real argument & discussion (which cuts to the core of NZ today) is "Why is there so much violence & lawlessness in NZ?"


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