21 Nov 2019

Police call for information about spate of gang clashes

12:56 pm on 21 November 2019

Hawke's Bay police want to speak to anyone who has information about a spate of clashes between rival gangs over the weekend.

Shot fired at Napier Health Centre

The medical centre shot at during gang clashes in Napier last weekend. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

A decision to arm all police on the beat was made about 9pm on Sunday after a series of incidents involving Black Power and Mongrel Mob gang members resulted in a medical centre being shot at and two men injured.

Police remain armed today and there will be a visible police presence in the community going into the weekend, Detective Inspector Mike Foster said.

Enquiries were continuing into the weekend's incidents, with a number of search warrants carried out as part of their investigations.

"In response to recent events and the current risk environment facing police officers, a general arming directive has been put in place for the Hawke's Bay policing area. This directive was put in place at 9pm Sunday, and will be reviewed daily," a police statement said.

"Our main concern above all else is the safety of the public. Police have increased patrols throughout the area and we are working with the community to de-escalate current tensions."

Police Minister and Napier MP Stuart Nash said they did not take the decision to arm themselves lightly.

"Police around the country make general arming decisions from time to time based on operational priorities and the need to keep communities and frontline officers safe.

"The community should be reassured by the presence of armed officers. It is a temporary response to heightened concerns.

"I expect police to keep the public informed, as appropriate to any significant dangers to wider public safety," Mr Nash said.