For the police, their mission statement on their website is for "New Zealand to be the safest country it can possibly be". However, for many New Zealanders, their view on the police isn’t quite as positive. Our justice system has been called “systematically racist” - with profiled discrimination against both Maori & Pasifika communities.
The police themselves admit to these unconscious biases, so the announcement of arming the police, & releasing squads of armed officers onto the streets of Manukau, Waikato, & Canterbury, came with some controversy.
These teams have been deployed since late October last year, & already they’re being sent out, on average, seventy-five times a day. Militarised patrols of the police, routine traffic stops & high-risk situations. As you can imagine, Not everyone’s happy about this…
So I got in touch with Emilie Rākete, a spokesperson for People Against Prisons Aotearoa & a member of the Arms Down Coalition, a collective of organisations & experts affected by police violence. The group's organising a national day of action - The first event Against Police Militarisation in Aotearoa.