There has been a news story recently.. four armed offenders squad (AOS) police officers were shot, by a single ‘gun man’. All of the officers survived the incident (after being treated in hospital.. one apparently in intensive care).
The story says that it, was the result of a ‘cannabis operation’ in the town of Kawerau. The report says that the ‘offender’ first shot, at a police drug-spotter plane. This resulted in the AOS being sent in. The report did not clarify how much cannabis or plants, were involved.. but it sounds like the offender was a small time grower/dealer. He was taken into custody the next day, after a family group & negotiators ‘talked him down’.
This has raised some issues, in the media:
1) Should all front-line NZ Police, now be fully armed ?
NZ police apparently have guns in their vehicles (if needed) but are not carried on their person, as in USA, Australia etc. The head of the Police Union has been calling for this for several years, BUT it is not a popular thing with many politicians or some senior Police.
2) Armed offenders squads are supposedly only called in, if an ‘armed offender(s)’ is creating a situation that requires their ‘special tactics’ to deal with/resolve it. BUT in this case, they even called in, what looked like Army in an armed car (total overkill) ! This seems to be, on the rise, at many ‘drug operations’ in recent times. WAR on DRUGS.. full-scale !
They have even been calling for RNZAF (Airforce) helicopters & officers to backup the Police, in recent times.
3) Then there is the other side.. is the current ‘zero-tolerance’ approach, that is still in force in Aotearoa/NZ really worth all the effort ?
Is it worth, potentially putting the lives of Police (& ‘offenders’) on the line, to seize a few cannabis plants or any quantity of the drug ??
There have been several calls for this DEBATE to go ahead.. but the current crop of Govt. politicians just seem unwilling to engage in it. Apparently its either ‘too sensitive’ OR believing the status quo ‘is working just fine’ (NOT) 😦
Others are saying.. that the current strategies are; effectively using a ‘Sledgehammer to Crack A Walnut’ (including I&I) !!