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Ed Sheeran

Collins push on for arming police

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National Partly leader Judith Collins says bring back the police armed response teams - but paint their SUVs pink instead of black.

The experiment of having Armed Offenders Squad members patrolling the streets of South Auckland and other areas was dumped last year by new Police Commissioner Andy Coster, who told district commanders the teams had failed to win community support or inspire trust.

But Ms Collins says rising gang-connected gun violence means the public is starting to see general arming of the police as an option.

"What we've got at the moment is we've got a massive health and safety issue for the police and we've got a problem where the minister doesn't seem to realise a whole lot of police, particularly in the Counties Manukau area, are both Māori or they're Pacific and actually their lives matter, just as all the other police officers' lives matter," she says.

Ms Collins says most shooting attacks on police seem to happen at routine traffic stops, whereas the armed response teams never had to draw their weapons.

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