Police association front page news https://policeassn.org.nz/ Fri, 07 Apr 2017 16:21:37 +1200 Fri, 07 Apr 2017 16:31:29 +1200 Police Association welcomes new focus on illegal firearms in New Zealand https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/media-releases/police-association-welcomes-new-focus-illegal-firearms-new-zeal The New Zealand Police Association says Parliament’s Law and Order Select Committee is clearly serious about dealing with the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand. Association President Chris Cahill says today’s report, following ten months of submissions and deliberations, has produced some good, common sense recommendations which answer a number of concerns the Association has with the current situation. “We are particularly pleased with the recommendation that the permit to procure a firearm be extended to cover the sale or transfer of all firearms,” Mr Cahill said. The Committee noted that this process would provide details of firearms transactions to the Police, and over time, this information would build a database of firearms possessed by individuals.  “The Committee members have recognised that this permit regime would initially impose an administrative burden on buyers, sellers and the Police, but it is time to focus on the bigger picture.  New Zealand needs to better monitor private sales of firearms and the majority of the country’s 242,000 licensed owners will agree with that.  An online process for permits will eventually reduce the costs to all,” Mr Cahill said. The Association applauds the tough stance recommended with respect to gangs. “Anything that makes being a member of a gang less appealing, we’re happy with,” Mr Cahill said. “Gang members and gang prospects are not fit and proper persons to possess firearms, and they demonstrate that every day of the week.  We know of gang members who are licensed firearms carriers and currently there is nothing to stop them purchasing any number of weapons, and then distributing them amongst the gang,” he said.  The Committee decided against the creation of a firearms register, opting instead for a law change to require Police to record the serial numbers of firearms owned by licence holders when they renew their licences, or are subject to inspection of their premises. “We are quite happy with that recommendation, particularly when it is combined with the recommendations to extend the powers of the Police to enter premises to inspect the security of “A” category firearms, and loss of licence as the penalty if storage regulations are not complied with.  This will mean when Police carry out security checks they can at the same time, record serial numbers and add them to the Police registry,” Mr Cahill said. “These are only a number of the recommendations, and they sit amongst many others that the Association believes will lead to a much better understanding of where firearms are across the country.” However the Association is not happy with the Committee’s attitude to the rules and regulations surrounding the importation of firearms. “There appears to be a glaring omission in the report when it comes to tightening up on the tens of thousands of firearms imported into New Zealand every year.  We have to ask why on earth we need all these firearms, why we need MSSAs and pistols, and why is it acceptable to not know where many of these weapons end up,” Mr Cahill said. The Association hopes the Government will take seriously  the recommendations, and implement them as soon as possible. Media Releases Fri, 07 Apr 2017 16:21:37 +1200 Police association front page news Police News April 2017 https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/police-news/police-news-april-2017 In this issue: Tasers in the spotlight; NZPA app now available on Police mobiles; meet our Industrial team; the Kiwi fighting to catch sports drug cheats; and NZPA Raft Race photos. Police News (Magazine) Fri, 07 Apr 2017 15:16:22 +1200 Police association front page news President's Column: Firearms are a deadly serious matter https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/presidents-column/presidents-column-firearms-are-deadly-serious-matter I am a late and somewhat reluctant user of social media, but that hasn’t protected me from the darker side of the online world. In short, I have been trolled. I suspect that further unwelcome attention is a possibility as I continue to spearhead the Association’s factual commentary on the law and order issues that affect our members. It seems to be a by-product of our times, and the job. The issue that caused the recent online ire against me was firearms control. Love them or hate them, firearms generate very strong opinions. They also have a very strong presence in our society. I am briefed daily about our members being either confronted with firearms or finding them in situations that could easily turn deadly. In several cases, it has simply been good luck that a member has not been seriously injured or killed. There are practical measures that can reduce the ability of criminals to obtain firearms and it would be remiss of me to downplay the seriousness of this issue. The nature of some of the social media commentary made it clear that certain sections of New Zealand believe they have a right to possess firearms – all sorts of firearms. Many of these weapons have no purpose beyond the personal satisfaction of owning them. They are not useful for sports hunting, which many Kiwis, myself included, enjoy. Yet it is often just these types of firearms that end up in the hands of criminals, thereby increasing the level of danger to both our members and the general public. Gun ownership is not a right; it is a privilege and this is made clear through the “fit and proper person test” contained within the Arms Act. The Association is not advocating onerous or costly changes to that act, and when I discuss registration of weapons with gun users they have no issue with that as a fair compromise between gun ownership and responsibilities. We are now waiting for the Law and Order Select Committee to report on its inquiry into the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand, and we are looking for meaningful change. The proliferation of firearms is a threat to the safety of all of us, and I will continue to speak out on that because it is a deadly serious matter. President's Columns Fri, 07 Apr 2017 15:52:52 +1200 Police association front page news Scrapping New Zealand’s Vehicle Safety Officers dangerous and short-sighted https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/media-releases/scrapping-new-zealand%E2%80%99s-vehicle-safety-officers-dangerous-and-s The Police Association is deeply concerned that the jobs of the country’s 26 Vehicle Safety Officers (VSOs) are to be axed at a time when New Zealand’s road toll is unacceptably high, and climbing. Police last year announced that 111 road policing staff (which includes VSOs) were to be taken off these duties and absorbed back into general policing with no-one losing their job. “That is clearly not the case because the 26 VSOs are to be disbanded.  These highly specialised mechanics and engineers who focus on the safety of New Zealand’s heavy duty vehicles are not sworn officers and so cannot be simply absorbed into other policing duties,” Association President Chris Cahill said. Police say that less than 4% of crashes on our roads involve commercial trucks.  The Association considers it not unreasonable to extrapolate from that that the relatively low figure of commercial vehicle accidents is due to the independence and expertise of the VSOs when conducting inspections.   “There are tens of thousands of heavy commercial vehicles on New Zealand’s roads at any given time, and, when trucks can travel 100,000s of kms between inspections, an undetected mechanical or structural fault can cause havoc,” Mr Cahill said. “When trucks or buses are involved in accidents the consequences are usually significant.  It simply doesn’t make sense to downplay the roadworthiness of the likes of massive logging trucks, school and tourist buses, and, don’t forget, the potential catastrophe of an unsafe vehicle is not only for those inside it, but for other road users who may be impacted in any crash.”    VSOs deal regularly with issues which could cause imminent vehicle failure.  These include the likes of worn universal joints, missing, lose or broken cap bolts, visible cracks in cross members and between drive axles, cracked chassis plates, damaged chassis rails, cracked deck attachments, insufficient tread depth on tyres. The Association wants to know which independent agency or agencies will now carry out the vital inspections which uncover these faults, and who will be responsible for reporting on the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles involved in crashes. “Taking staff from road policing when New Zealand’s freight levels are expected to increase 75% over the next 25 years is extremely short sighted,” Mr Cahill said.  “We also only need to look back at the last Christmas/New Year holiday period open road toll of 15 fatal crashes and 19 deaths to know it is not a time to mess with road safety in any way”, Mr Cahill said. “Added to that, Police’s own report notes a 16% increase in road crash hospitalisation figures for the last quarter of last year compared to the 2015 figures.  That is the highest result since 2008/09 and while those numbers were fairly consistently represented across most districts, some areas showed substantial increases,” he said. The report also shows New Zealand has nothing to be proud of when our progress in reducing road deaths is compared with other OECD countries.  We top the scale in (relative) rises in road deaths - increases which are mirrored in the hospitalisation results. Media Releases Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:36:46 +1200 Police association front page news Policing commitment welcomed https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/featured-articles/policing-commitment-welcomed Election year kicked off to a strong $388 million start for police. The Government has walked the talk on its commitment to address an increase in serious crime and a stressed police force by expanding the number of sworn and non-sworn staff by 1125. That 10 per cent boost is welcomed by the Association. There is healthy circumspection about where the staff will be deployed and how Police will manage a daunting recruitment drive, but “so far the positives heavily outweigh the negatives”, according to Association President Chris Cahill. “Overall, this Safer Communities package has been well thought out in terms of taking the pressure off a number of key areas identified by the Association,” he said. Organised crime, a surge in methamphetamine and a proliferation of illegal firearms are among the issues the Association wants these extra resources to be aimed at. Initiatives such as the 12 mobile policing units to be allocated across the country to tackle various community policing concerns as they arise, and the 24/7 non-emergency phone line, will alleviate frustrations the public has in trying to reach police. The Association has been assured by Police that the 880 sworn staff will arrive “fully costed” in terms of mobility, tactical training, uniforms and equipment. “It is our job to make sure that commitment is kept,” Mr Cahill said. The first intake of new recruits will begin training in July and be operational by November. To complete the recruitment and training of 220 extra officers a year over the next four years, as well as those needed to address natural attrition, it will be 2020 before the full complement hits the beat. Ideally, the Association would like the extra staff immediately, but the sheer logistics of the initiative preclude that. In some initial responses from Association members it is clear the allocation is going to be closely scrutinised. Feedback included: • A desire that the 500 extra frontline police “should sit in i-cars, or the equivalent in rural areas, where the demand is”. • Would the additional non-sworn staff take back the positions previously done by non-sworn, but then disestablished and given to sworn members? “Using non-sworn in these roles would free up even more officers.” • The package should be “very much about additional Indians, not more chiefs” or “pet projects”. • More rural policing is most welcome, as long as it is well resourced. • Finding enough recruits in a timely manner is going to be a challenging exercise. • The mobile policing units are a great idea – “a proactive targeting team so other groups are not stripped to deal with problems as they arise”. • Despite the constraints of the past few years, one member said, the New Zealand public had been getting very good value for its money from the current Police staff.   THE NUMBERS 1125 new staff – 880 sworn, 245 non-sworn – over four years, taking total Police staff to more than 13,000 (10 per cent more officers by 2021) 500 more officers for the frontline 140 more officers for regional and rural policing (the aim is for 95 per cent of New Zealanders to be within 25km of a 24/7 police presence) 140 more investigators for child protection, sexual assault, family violence and other serious crime 80 more officers to target organised crime, gangs and methamphetamine 20 more ethnic liaison officers 12 mobile policing units 24/7 – new national non-emergency phone line; Police Eagle helicopter funded to operate fulltime THE COST $503m over four years – $388m for Police, $115m for wider justice sector.   Featured Articles Tue, 07 Mar 2017 09:05:10 +1200 Police association front page news