Police AOS play with their toys in Napier shooting

First off the shooting in Napier was a tradegy, a policeman lost his life and I’m not about to criticise the way they dealt with the situation, only one other person died – the offender.

In the aftermath we are going to get the usual hand-wringing and silly miss-informed nonsense about guns and gun licencing and how things should be restricted and people shouldn’t be allowed to have guns. All this will ignore that Jan Molenaar wasn’t a licenced gun user so he would have done what he did regardless of how gun licences are managed.


The AOS keeping a low profile. Note empty seat in front - why risk injury on the outside?

My contention is that in a way, the Police themselves (possibly deliberately) play into the hands of those who want to ban legal guns. Why? have a look at these photo’s from the NZ Herald. 

What do you see? Lots of guy’s running around dressed up in  more equipment than a Marine on patrol in Baghdad, festooned with semi automatic rifles. Add to that uniformed officers wandering around far from the scene of the siege with semiautomatic rifles slug over their shoulders.

The public have seen these particular guns before, every night on TV when they see something about Iraqi or Afghanistan. This gets everyone worried that the streets are descending into chaos with Police having to arm themselves to the teeth to keep us all safe. Talk-back has been buzzing with it.

I’m puzzled as to why a Policeman escorting a lady with shopping back to here house requires a semiautomatic rifle to perform this task? Were they worried Mr Molenaar was going to break out of the Police cordon and this officer was going to protect the lady with a Bushmaster? Surely if the aim was to protect the civilian then a bullet proof jacket would suffice? The officers patrolling the cordon – which was well back from the actual scene, did not require semi automatic rifles, was there an imminent threat of a gun fight with groups of spectators standing by? If there was, then surely the cordon should have been further back.

The other thing that is all a bit odd is why the AOS insist on riding around hanging onto the outside 4WD’s. Initially I thought it was a budgetary constraint, the AOS couldn’t afford many 4WD’s so some of the officers were forced to ride shot gun, but then I saw that in a number of photo’s there is clearly room on the inside of the vehicle. Why can’t they ride vehicles like everyone else? Surely OSH would require them to ride safely in a vehicle? There’s no immediate threat that is going to see them shooting from the running boards – if such a thing were possible, and in any case, this is very dangerous and what use is it to the public if an AOS officer is injured riding in such a silly way, especially when there is plenty of room inside the vehicle.  The more likely explanation is that these guys have been watching way to many movies.

All this rather dramatic display of weaponry, and in the case of riding outside the vehicle, stupidity, is hardly discrete, in fact it’s in-your-face high profile stuff. It’s also operationally unnecessary. Sure’ it might make for good TV and give the MSM the chance to go crazy/insane/crazed with over the top headlines, but it also gives people the incorrect impression that the Police require lots of guns to deal with a situation.

If you’re a law abiding gun owner you should worried about whether the licencing is going to be affected by events like this. It’s not just that some nutter has shot people using an illegal gun that’s the issue, it’s that the highly visible Police response reinforces the perception amongst a large portion of the population that there are criminals on every corner popping caps in peoples heads and that the Police need officers running around decked out with automatic rifles and ballaclavers to cope. Over time this can only suit those who want to take away your legal right to own a firearm for perfectly legitimate reasons.

    • Jan
    • May 12th, 2009

    You forgot about borrowing the army’s armoured vehicles, they added weight to the drama. If we still had an airforce they would have been called upon to help as well.

  1. “hanging onto the outside 4WD’s.”

    perhaps it is so their equipment doesn’t snag if they suddenly need to rush the offender?

  2. Well, while you consume a Tui, I’m going to knock the top off an Epic. Cheers!

    Jan, I was one of a group of excited folk watching from Oriental Bay when our airforce did a fly-over when Beckham came to Wellington. The sight of a small group of tiny turboprop aeroplanes buzzing across the city was so embarassing I wanted to claim an alternative citizenship.
    A bunch of enthusiasts from the local aero club would have been more uplifting (and cheaper) and they’d have dined out on it for a while.

    • Marine
    • May 26th, 2010

    So is the author of this article an ex police/military armed squad member? There are ways Police deal with armed situations and they are professionally trained to do what they do. I don’t see how you can try and judge their actions watching from the sideline with what appears no knowledge on armed incident scenarios.

    How can you garbage Police for handling a situation thoroughly and professionally? Better to be safe and cover all the bases, prepare for the worst than go in under prepared.

    Who cares why AOS officers stand on the side of their 4WD’s, does that matter to you? It matters to them and it makes getting into position easier and efficient.

    Too much Police scrutiny in the media, RIP to the officer whos life was taken in the line of duty.

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