14 Jan 2013

Commissioner dismisses calls for police arming

5:28 am on 14 January 2013

The Police Commissioner says it is nonsense to use the latest attack on an officer as an argument for arming all police all of the time.

The Police Association is calling for more access to guns, after Perry Griffen, the sole officer in the Waikato town of Kawhia, was assaulted on Friday night by at least five people who then took his taser, radio and pistol.

The officer had brought his gun from his car, but did not draw it.

It was the fifth attack on an officer in the Waikato district since just before Christmas.

Commissioner Peter Marshall said the officer made the right decision and using his firearm as the first option would have been inappropriate.

He said the incident undermines what he calls the Police Association's incessant mantra that carrying a gun would defuse dangerous situations.

Mr Marshall said, contrary to what the Police Association claims, most officers do not want to carry firearms full time.

Police Association vice-president Stuart Mills earlier said that if the officer had been able to use his firearm as the primary weapon, offenders would have been less likely to attack and the situation would have been resolved more quickly, and with less harm.

"Too many police officers have been injured in the last few weeks alone and clearly general arming is the best option to proceed with."

Police officers were injured at Matamata and Huntly last month.

Police appeal for information

Police are asking the public for further information about attack.

Three people have been arrested and two others remain at large.

Police are appealing for sightings of a man in a blue shirt who was seen running across the road to the wharf and knocked the officer to the ground.

They also want to hear from anyone who took photos or videos of the assault.

The attack left Mr Griffen with an injured hip and bruises and grazes to the face and arms.