Yesterday the Independent Police Conduct Authority released its decision on three raids of the homes of licenced firearms owners following the Mosque shootings and judged the Police’s actions were unlawful. The Authority ruled that Police misused Section 18, which says Police may search, seize, and detain without warrant if they have reasonable grounds to suspect a breach of the Arms Act or an intention to kill or injure.
Early last year Nicole McKee of the Council of Licenced Firearm Owners (COLFO) expressed concerns about a series of police raids apparently associated with social media postings.
COLFO chairman Michael Dowling chairman said “We’ve always thought this to be the case. The events in Christchurch heightened emotions and warped the judgement at senior levels of the Police, and unfortunately revealed bias and antipathy toward firearm licence holders. There is also a degree of vindication – that we were right to object about the Police’s heavy-handedness and unlawful actions. Hopefully with the Royal Commission Report out soon, there will be more to come.”
He said senior police made major mistakes, broke the law and endangered lives because emotions got the better of them.
“These were not actions made with the best of intentions, but the basest of intentions – hostility toward a specific group of people. Their raids unnecessarily created highly volatile and aggressive situations involving ordinary citizens who had no connection to the Mosque shootings and posed no imminent danger to society.”
Michael Dowling said the police actions were not just mistakes of the moment as they were raids organised and conducted by senior Police detectives mainly based on Facebook comments of their targets. In one case, the comments simply indicated opposition to the Government’s new firearm ban.
Police Apologised But—
COLFO helped bring these cases, and many others, to the attention of the Police Deputy Commissioner and Area Managers. Although the Authority noted that Police had subsequently apologised, COLFO was still receiving complaints about Police conduct toward firearm licence holders – “even as recently as yesterday”.
He advised firearm owners that if searched by the Police, or otherwise harassed due to owning a firearm, please contact COLFO by reply email.
“We’re hearing reports of Police in the Waikato and Canterbury regions in particular being overly aggressive. We would like to understand the extent of the problem,” he said.
Footnote: Nicole McKee is standing for Parliament ranked number 3 on the ACT party list
© Michael Dowling – “emotions got the better of police”