Ngā mihi. Our thoughts are with the family of Alex Fisher following yesterday's tragic news. I would like to thank the Central District police team and all the search and rescue volunteers, including New Zealand Defence Force staff, who worked tirelessly over the past few days to look for Alex.
We all hoped to find Alex alive and we all share the grief of his family and community.
Guns and safety
In order to protect our communities, police have to keep themselves safe, and that's an absolute priority for me.
I and other members of the Police Executive take the recent incidents involving firearms extremely seriously. We know the risks involved with policing and we will absolutely take steps to improve staff safety when it is required. Anyone who claims otherwise is wrong.
Every incident involving a firearm or the threat of a firearm being used against our staff is a serious concern.
We are constantly monitoring the environment in which police operate to ensure staff are able to respond appropriately to the wide range of situations they encounter. We are also reviewing Police Integrated Tactical Training as part of our drive for continuous improvement - work that was planned well before the recent armed incidents.
We also have a range of other work underway and are considering new work to help ensure that our policies and operational decisions are based on evidence, data and facts.
Currently, the available evidence does not support the routine arming of police.
Tuesday's armed incident at a Christchurch WINZ office - resolved without anyone getting hurt thanks to the professional and rapid response of our staff, who had immediate access to firearms - shows we have the capability to keep ourselves and the public safe.
The latest New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey (NZCASS) shows a 30 percent drop in crime. This is really good news, and our staff should all be very proud. After all, this is why all of us come to work every day.
The survey shows that three-out-of-four people experienced no crime at all in 2013, underlining how safe New Zealand is. It's also good to see a decline in re-victimisation, though a small minority of people are still repeatedly victimised.
Addressing that is one of the areas we'll be focusing on in Policing Excellence: the Future, and we have a range of work streams planned to help the most vulnerable in our communities stay safe.
Our doors are open
Sunday, 18 October is Police National Open Day, when we throw open our doors and invite the public in for a behind-the-scenes look at what we do. Staff around the country will be organising events at a station near you, and this is a great opportunity for us to strengthen our bonds with the communities we serve.
That's all for now. Until next time, stay safe.
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