Police Commissioner 'committed' to generally unarmed service

From Checkpoint, 5:20 pm on 9 June 2020

The controversial police Armed Response Teams have been axed for good.

The six month trial in Counties-Manukau, Waikato and Canterbury was fiercely criticised by justice advocates, concerned about a lack of community consultation, and that the armed squad would disproportionately target Māori.

A request was filed for an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing. Various police documents released under the Official Information Act also show the Armed Response Team that were supposed to attend firearms and high risk incidents mostly followed up suspicious vehicles in their first two months on the job.

The ART also failed to properly record vital call out data during the trial - leading to questions about the accuracy of any evaluation of the pilot.

On Tuesday Police Commissioner Andrew Coster - who inherited the trial from his predecessor - announced it is the end of the road for the Armed Response Teams. He talks to Lisa Owen.