Tuesday, 21 September 2004 - 8:01am |
National News

North Shore police warn about careless use of air guns

2 min read

North Shore Police are warning about the careless use of firearms in urban areas.

Senior Sergeant Gary Hill and his section have attended incidents in the past three months in Albany, Browns Bay, Oteha Valley and Torbay. "For those four incidents staff were armed because reports of a person wandering round with a firearm have to be responded to in that manner. Staff are issued firearms for the protection of the public and also themselves, and are trained to react according to police policy." says Senior Sergeant Hill."

An incident last week involved a male using an air gun in Bushlands Reserve in Albany. That response involved twelve police staff including a dog handler and also support from the Police Eagle Helicopter for one and half hours. The next day Section One were again issued firearms after an air rifle and air pistol were being used by two teenagers in a backyard with pellets straying to neighbouring houses.

"Senior Sergeant Hill says, "This is a real demand on resources that I know could be avoided if people had only thought of the consequences before using an air gun in a built up area. I am sure members of the public would also appreciate our resources being used in another way to reduce crime in the community," says Senior Sergeant Hill.

An unmarked CIB vehicle recently travelling to a job had imitation pistols presented at it by teenagers. They had no idea the passengers in the car were detectives.

Acting Area Commander, Inspector Les Paterson says, "It can be very difficult to tell the difference between imitation and real pistols, and like the use of air guns; people have to be very careful with the circumstances in which they are used."

People can face prosecution for unlawfully discharging an air gun or for presenting an imitation firearm.

"When Police receive reports of a firearm being used or seen and staff respond there is an expectation they are entering an armed confrontation and so staff will react accordingly." says Inspector Paterson.