Canterbury police to carry firearms following gang retaliation fears

By Te Ao - Māori News

The arming of police officers in Canterbury is inevitable with the growing numbers and brazenness of the gangs across the country and this should be a permanent step, the Sensible Sentencing Trust says.

“It is unfortunate that we have come to the point where the criminal gangs have grown to pose such a danger to the community that we now need our officers to be armed - but it is a necessary step to keep our community safe," Sensible Sentencing Trust co-leader Darroch Ball says.

“This will be just the tip of the iceberg with the rest of the country’s districts following suit in the near future due to the ballooning gang numbers, the uncontrollable increase in violence, and crimes involving guns."

According to Stuff, the arming order was issued last night [Jan 14], after police received information about tensions running high among the Rebels, Mongrel Mob Aotearoa and the Mongols MC.

Fairmont Wiringi, son of Mongrel Mob Aotearoa president Joseph 'Junior' Wiringi, was seriously injured in a double shooting in Kaiapoi, north of Christchurch, back on January 4. He is recovering in hospital.

Until an investigation is carried out to find the people involved in the incident, police will stay armed.

The trust co-leader backs permanent arming of police "as it seems the only common-sense next step in the fight against gang violence and ensuring the protection of the community."

“We need to realise the failings in our systems that have got us to this point," Ball says.

“We need to be open to taking the next step and permanently arming our entire police force across the country to combat the growing threat of gangs in our community."

“Safety and protection of the community must be the priority and should not take a back seat to any politically ideological stance of not arming police.”