10 Jul 2021

Police officer shot several times after routine traffic stop

7:41 pm on 10 July 2021

Two people have been been arrested after a police officer was shot during a routine traffic stop in Hamilton last night.

Police car on the street at night

Photo: 123RF

A 23-year-old man believed to have been an armed passenger in the car was arrested this morning and has been charged with aggravated wounding, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

He is expected to appear in Hamilton District Court on Monday. Police say further charges are likely.

Another man, believed to be the driver of the vehicle, was also arrested this morning.

Police say they have also recovered the firearm believed to have been used in the shooting.

The officer, who was working alone, pulled over a vehicle in a routine traffic stop in the suburb of Chartwell last night just before midnight, when a passenger got out and shot the officer in the shoulder.

Police say the driver then took off and the passenger stole the police car.

The Armed Offenders Squad and Eagle helicopter helped find the police car about 2am. At 4am they located the other vehicle, which was stolen. Shortly after they found a 27-year-old man, believed to be the driver of the vehicle, and arrested him.

Assistant commissioner Richard Chambers said the 23-year-old was located in Ngāruawāhia at 8.30am this morning, with the assistance of the community.

The officer had surgery today, and is being well cared for, Chambers said.

"Obviously a frightening situation for any police colleague to find themselves in a situation such as this.

"Necessary support is being wrapped around our colleague, the commissioner of police has been in touch and our support services are looking after our colleague and others."

The officer is in a stable condition in Waikato Hospital. It is likely he will be there for several days and is expected to make a full recovery.

Police say officers will be at the scene of the shooting on Bankwood Road in Hamilton today.

Police officers feeling increasingly unsafe - union

It is at least the fourth time this year that officers have been shot at, with the numbers increasing over the past three years.

A temporary order for officers in the district to carry guns was put in place but has now ended.

The police union said it is becoming far too common for offenders to open fire at officers during routine traffic stops.

Police Association president Chris Cahill said officers felt increasingly unsafe.

"It's not just the weekends it's every day unfortunately, there's just increased levels of risk out there.

"Whether it's from people ramming their vehicles, to people assaulting them.

"And then obviously the firearms, and we continue to see ... criminals are willing to use firearms against police. It's very concerning for them."

Police statistics show assaults against officers are also increasing year on year, from 447 in 2017 to 583 last year.

There were 200 assaults on officers in the first four months of this year.