New Zealand’s curiously named Armed Offenders Squad (shouldn’t it be defenders?) has again seen action in a call-out in the Whangarei suburb of Kamo this morning (Update - later in the day there was another AOS incident in Nawton, Hamilton)
Residents in the town, located in the country which is supposedly ‘the most peaceful nation on earth,’ endured major disruption during a four hour standoff during which stun grenades and tear gas were used to arrest a 35 year old man on Wilkinson Ave, opposite Kamo High School.
Fortunately staff and students at the school were kept away until the situation was resolved but neighbouring residents weren’t so lucky when police and AOS officers arrived with a search warrant at 5.45 this morning, searching for a man wanted on serious methamphetamine related drug charges. Read about it here.
Police, no doubt mindful of the recent suburban shooting of two officers and a police dog in Phillipstown, Christchurch (video included) last week, were taking no chances with this operation and their tactics obviously paid off.
Police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett told reporters at the Whangarei leader “it’s all about safety“.
Does that mean this method of executing a search warrant likely to become the norm now? Because suburban shoot-outs and stand-off are becoming more and more frequent in New Zealand, the pressure is on for NZ police officers to carry guns. The country cannot afford many more fatalities.
On Monday we wrote about an man getting shot in the stomach during the execution of a search warrant in New Lynn, Auckland; and an armed police operation in Dunedin in which it sounded as if police used stun grenades (smoke, tear gas or other devices) to subdue a person in an apartment near Dunedin Polytechnic.
New Zealand may not be fighting any wars on its own soil but real battles are sure as heck going-on in the streets every day:
Tourists caught up in Northland shoot-out - 11 July 2010
“A party of tourists on quad bikes near Ahipara were caught up in the aftermath of an armed “squabble” between two brothers.
The group was stopped by fully kitted out Armed Offender Squad officers looking for the offenders, no doubt scaring the wits out of the visitors looking forward to a quiet day at the beach…”
Another Armed Offenders Squad call out in Auckland - 22 June 2010
” It’s been a busy period for the Armed Offenders Squad.Family row led to shots being fired from house – 23 June 2010
Three days ago there was an armed robbery of a pub in Point Chev that led to an AOS stand off in the residential area of Flatbush, 20kms away.
Then this morning they cordoned off roads and surrounded a house in Pakuranga Road, South Auckland. Witnesses said the police were negotiating with a person holed-up in a property. The incident is thought to have ended without injury or loss of life. See “Another dickhead on the lose in Panmure“
The day finished with call out to the North Shore suburb of Hllcrest, another quiet residential area…”
“A Pukehina Beach man at the centre of an armed police seige after he fired several gun shots has been sentenced to 100 hours’ community work and six months’ supervision. Shaun Albert Cockburn, 39, who earlier pleaded guilty to charges of discharging a firearm near a house was sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday.”Armed police called out in Southland – 10 June 2010
“An Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) call-out, an unprovoked assault which left a man unconscious, and an aggravated dairy robbery at knife point kept Invercargill police busy overnight. At 8.50pm police received a 111 call from Bluff, reporting that a man with a weapon was threatening to kill the two other people at a property — another man and a woman.”Police seek man after armed offenders called out -15 May 2010
“Police say the AOS was sent out on Saturday morning to a rural property where it was thought there had been an altercation between a man and his nephew. They say the women who called them had fled the house saying she had fears for a young man after her partner had assaulted him and threatened him with a firearm.”Norsewood gunman puts lower North Island into lockdown – 5 October 2009
“Residents of the lower north island towns of Dannevirke, Ormondville and Takapau have been advised to stay inside, lock their doors and stay away from windows after a body was found in a car abandoned by a gunman on the run. Police closed State Highway 2 between Norsewood and Waipukurau while they hunted for the man who had also fired at police and shot at a farm worker, injuring him in the arm. The offender was described as a European, aged 46 and highly dangerous. He was later named as David John Bourke from Wanganui.”Armed sieges and gun politics in NZ – 7 May 2009
“An armed stand-off in Chaucer Road South, Napier that started yesterday morning continues into today. A routine cannabis bust went horribly wrong when the suspect, Jan Molenaar, shot dead policeman Len Snee, 53 and critically injured 3 other people yesterday in the small tourist town of Napier, famed for its art deco architecture. Len Snee was the fifth police officer to have been shot dead since the Aramoana massacre of 1990 and one of 29 officers to have died as a result of a criminal act in New Zealand.”
Today's posts - click here