Attribute to Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price
Police frontline responders in Canterbury are currently armed following three firearms incidents in the last week directed at Police staff.
As District Commander, I have issued a directive for the Routine Carriage of Firearms for our level 1 responders. This will apply until the risk environment changes, and I am reviewing this assessment with every shift.
As you know, a man was shot earlier this week by Police after failing to stop.
One individual is still sought by Police in connection with this armed incident and we are conducting extensive inquiries to locate him. We believe this person may be armed.
Until he is located, or hands himself in, frontline Level 1 responders in Canterbury will be carrying firearms for their own safety and the safety of the public.
Our officers are operating in an environment of heightened risk, and they deserve to be kept safe.
Their safety is paramount.
My intent is simply that my staff can come to work, complete their shifts to keep the public safe, and return home safely to their families at the end of the day.
We believe that the risk posed by this individual is towards police staff rather than the general public, however public safety is always our priority and we will take the necessary decisions to keep our communities safe.
This is an operational decision made by me as the District Commander and only applies to Canterbury staff. However, I have informed the Commissioner and he supports my decision.
Police assess their operating environment daily, and decisions are continually made regarding staff and public safety.
As soon as the circumstances change and we believe this risk is no longer present we will revert back to our normal operating model regarding firearms.
We are continually reviewing the current situation.
It is public knowledge that firearms are already routinely available to Police staff and this decision is in response to a very specific situation, rather than a general shift in our approach.
We continue to work with the local community in relation to this incident and we're grateful with the support the community has shown us.
We appeal for the individual to make contact with police as soon as possible and encourage him to come forward for his safety, the safety of our community and our Police officers.
We also appeal for any member of the public with information about this individual to contact Police.
New Zealand Police come to work every day for the purpose of keeping our communities safe and this is always our priority.
It is our duty to protect all members of our community and we are lucky that no innocent members of the public or police officers were injured during the recent incidents.
Appropriate advice is given to Police staff on a case by case basis and this is happening currently.
I want to acknowledge my dedicated police team for their outstanding efforts. Every day they come to work, to ensure the safety of all of us.
Issued by Police Media Centre