24 Feb 2021

Judith Collins would 'absolutely' bring back Armed Response Teams

From Morning Report, 7:39 am on 24 February 2021

The Opposition has launched an unprecedented attack on Police Commissioner Andrew Coster on Tuesday, with National Party MP Simon Bridges calling him a "wokester" and saying he is not tough enough on gangs.

National Party Leader Judith Collins told Morning Report she had told Bridges to focus on Ministers with his criticisms rather than public servants, but said her subordinate was simply reflecting frustrations he had heard from the community.

She pointed to examples like the scrapping of the New Zealand Police's Armed Response Teams trial, which were trialled for six months. 

Commissioner Andrew Coster announced in June 2020 the teams would not continue after feedback from the trial.

"It is clear to me that these response teams do not align with the style of policing that New Zealanders expect," he said.

"We have listened carefully to that feedback and I have made the decision these teams will not be a part of our policing model in the future."

Collins said that was not the case for her though.

"I represent a South Auckland seat in Papakura, people there were actually very supportive."

She said if she were in power she would "absolutely" bring the teams back.