The Independent Police Conduct Authority has released its decision on three firearm raids by Police, finding that the Police’s actions were unlawful.
Last year Nicole McKee of COLFO expressed concern about a series of Police raids of the homes of licenced firearms owners following the March 15 Mosque shootings, apparently associated with social media postings.
But now the Authority has 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.
“We’ve always thought this to be the case,” said Michael Dowling COLFO chairman. “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.”
“Senior Police made major mistakes, broke the law and endangered lives because they let emotions get the better of them,” he added.
“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.
“These weren’t just mistakes of the moment – these 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.”
COLFO helped bring these cases, and many others, to the attention of the Police Deputy Commissioner and Area Managers. COLFO was still receiving complaints about Police conduct toward firearm licence holders.
“If you’ve been searched by the Police, or otherwise harassed due to owning a firearm, please contact me 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,” said Michael Dowling.
Michael Dowling – hostility toward a specific group of people, lawful firearm owners.