Greg O’Connor of the Police Association is highlighting that criminals appear to have increased access to guns.
Firearms have become “ridiculously easy” for offenders to get their hands on and police are being confronted almost daily by gun-wielding criminals, the Police Association says.
The union is calling for an official police inquiry into where the guns are coming from and says the issue has been badly neglected by the top brass.
The call comes days after police were shot at as they pursued a pair of alleged offenders in West Auckland, and follows a spate of incidents where other police were fired on.
There have also been numerous instances in which firearms were aimed at the public, including a Hamilton diary owner who wrestled a gun from a would-be-robber during a dramatic encounter in August, and an armed holdup of a Mangere service station in September in which the offender fired a shot.
“It has become ridiculously easy for… criminals to get firearms. The evidence is apparent as police are stumbling across firearms and becoming involved in armed incidents on a daily basis,” said association president Greg O’Connor.
“Contrary to police assurances that armed incidents are ‘rare’, hardly a week goes by that police are not coming into contact with illegal firearms in the hands of offenders.
“A steady stream of information is coming in from cops on the street. They say there is no doubt that the number of weapons out there is on the increase and gun-toting crimes are becoming the rule rather than the exception… The big question is – where and how are they getting them?”
In the latest edition of association magazine, Police News, Mr O’Connor said firearms in the wrong hands was “an additional risk that police don’t need”.