On Sunday, the trial of Armed Response Teams (ARTs) will end.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said he has thanked the teams involved in the trial for their hard work.
“These teams were trialed to support Police’s frontline tactical capabilities. Everything we do, we do to keep New Zealanders safe and feeling safe,” says Commissioner Coster.
“For Police, the trial was about having specialist Police personnel immediately ready to deploy to critical or high-risk incidents. This was to support our frontline with any incidents that required enhanced tactical capabilities. This was also part of recognising we were, and still are, at a medium threat level.
"We know that some communities have had some concerns about the ARTs and how they were being deployed.
"Now the trial is over an evaluation will be done and the views of the community taken into account as part of that.
"Our Evidence Based Policing Centre will undertake the evaluation. This will include data collected during the trial, public perceptions data, and the views of Police teams involved, as well as other relevant interested parties.
"The evaluation will take place over the next two months and I look forward to the results in June.
"An evaluation will only be one aspect of the review into ARTs. We will also consult with community groups and talk to our people and the teams involved with the ARTs. We recognise that the ultimate question of the style of policing we adopt in this country cannot be answered by an evaluation. Instead it needs to reflect a wider conversation with our communities.
"Any options that come out of the review will be consulted with communities as part of our efforts to take a collaborative approach to policing.
"How the public feels is important as we police with consent of the public, and that is a privilege."
What will happen to the staff who were in these teams now?
Staff will go back to the substantive roles which they were in prior to the trial.
What will happen to the vehicles?
The vehicles will not be used in the short term. While the evaluation is underway, Police’s fleet group will consider other potential future use of the vehicles should ARTs not continue.
Why is the evaluation not being done by an independent body?
It is standard that the Evidence Based Policing Centre run evaluations for Police and only bring in external agencies if and when required.
What mechanism will the public and community organisations have to contribute their views?
Districts and the Evidence Based Policing Centre will consult with the communities where ARTs were based. And anybody can email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org which is also linked to on Police’s website at the Armed Response Team page.