Photo gallery - Black Lives Matter hikoi

By Jessica Tyson

Thousands of people filled central Auckland yesterday afternoon to show solidarity following the death of African-American, George Floyd in Minnesota a week ago.

The aim of the march was to put pressure on the government from the local level up to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to, "publically condemn the acts of violence and state-sanction murder against African Americans in the United States," organisers wrote on the Facebook event page.

The march was also intended to highlight the more relevant and controversial issues here in Aotearoa around the ability for police to carry guns.

This comes off the back of the six-month Police Armed Response Teams trial which aimed to have more of an armed police presence and patrol the areas.

The trial involved new customised vehicles carrying teams of trained Armed Offenders Squad officers ready to respond to high-risk incidents. The trial caused concern because it was rolled out in highly-Māori populated communities including Counties-Manukau and Waikato.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says the Evidence-Based Policing Centre will undertake the evaluation of the ARTs trial. This will include data collected during the trial, public perceptions data, and the views of police teams involved, as well as other relevant interested parties.

"We know that some communities have had some concerns about the ARTs and how they were being deployed. Now the trial is over, an evaluation will be done and the views of the community taken into account as part of that.”

The results are expected to be released at the end of June.