Officers of New Zealand’s curiously named Armed Offenders Squad (shouldn’t it be defenders?) saw action in the Whangarei suburb of Kamo on the morning of 22 July 2010, followed by another AOS call-out in Hamilton later in the day
Residents in Kamo, located in the country which is supposedly ‘the most peaceful nation on earth,’ endured major disruption during a four hour standoff during which stun grenades and tear gas were used to arrest a 35 year old man on Wilkinson Ave, opposite Kamo High School.
Fortunately staff and students at the school were kept away until the situation was resolved but neighbouring residents weren’t so lucky when police and AOS officers arrived with a search warrant at 05.45 searching for a man wanted on serious methamphetamine related drug charges. Read about it here.
Police, no doubt mindful of the recent suburban shooting of two officers and a police dog in Phillipstown, Christchurch (video included) , were taking no chances with this operation and their tactics obviously paid off. Police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett told reporters at the Whangarei leader “it’s all about safety“.
Does that mean this method of executing a search warrant likely to become the norm now? Because suburban shoot-outs and stand-off are becoming more and more frequent in New Zealand; the pressure is on for NZ police officers to carry guns. The country cannot afford many more fatalities.
The problem is that innocent people are getting caught up in armed police operations, as in the case of 17 year old Halatau Naitoko , who was killed in cross fire on an Auckland motorway (see video) in January 2009, and more recently – a man carrying a roll of carpet in Christchurch.
New Zealand may not be fighting any wars on its own soil but real battles are sure as heck going-on in the streets:
Here is a round up of some AOS and armed police activities that have recently taken place in New Zealand, most of them have been in residential areas or suburban streets, causing great distress and disruption to local residents and all those concerned. NB. This list is not comprehensive, but is intended to be a representation of the extent and frequency of armed police operations.
Armed Police at Palmerston North incident – 29 November 2010
- Police received a call saying a man was alone in a car with a firearm
AOS called to Pines Beach – 29 November 2010
- Armed police was called to a house in Pines Beach, Kaiapoi, after a woman told police her partner was threatening to “put a bullet in his head.”
Armed Offender Squad stormed the wrong house – 18 November 2010
- Armed police wrongly smashed their way into the home of an elderly man in New Plymouth after they’d made a “map error.”
Invercargill blockade – 31 August 2010
- Police closed down streets in Appleby, Invercargill, after reports that a gunshot was heard. The AOS was “in attendance”
AOS callout in Glenfield – 30 August 2010
- A two operation involving “two truckloads of officers, following reports of a shot in suburban Glenfield
Person arrested after AOS callout – 29 August 2010
- An incident involving a firearm sparked an Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) callout on Waitara Road, Mohaka River Bridge, near the Napier-Taupo highway
School and Kindy locked down in Auckland suburb – 24 August 2010
- Armed police raided a house on Estree Avenue and arrested three people after a man was seen with a shotgun. Point England Primary School and Kindergarten were placed in lock down
- AOS assisted Auckland Organised Crime Unit officers in the execution of a search warrant near Glenfield shopping mall. Police have a man in custody but won’t confirm if he is 32-year-old fugitive Daniel Vae
AOS attend at Wairau Valley property -31 July 2010
- The AOS were asked to attend a weapons search at a rural property in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough, the search was as a result of information received. A 48 year old man later presented himself to Blenheim police station in relation to the incident
Robbery at a Christchurch pharmacy – 30 July 2010
- AOS personnel surrounded a house in St Albans, Christchurch following an armed robbery in a pharmacy. Read how if affected the local residents here
Carpet carrier sparks AOS callout – 30 July 2010
- “A roll of carpet sparked a police callout in Christchurch this morning. Police were called to Aldwins Road, Phillipstown, about 9.15am after reports of a man concealing a firearm. Streets around the area were cordoned off until police determined the man was carrying a roll of carpet.”
AOS raid gang member’s house – 29 July 2010
- AOS officers assisted with the execution of a search warrant at a property in Bowmont Street, Invercargill. “Recent attacks on officers throughout New Zealand prompted officers to carry out the raid carefully” said the squad’s head Sergeant. A gang member was arrested in connection with a string of robberies in Gore. read more in The Southland Times
Auckland raids net weapons, not fugitive – 29 July 2010
- “Police have arrested a man and seized firearms and a Taser following tear-gas raids on two Auckland homes this morning, but failed to find the fugitive they were seeking. Police raided a house in Castle Street, Grey Lynn, and an address in Mt Roskill, looking for 32-year-old Daniel Vae, a patched gang member who is wanted on three arrest warrants…” residents were upset and angry at being ordered out of their property and windows broken
Air rifle found after AOS callout – 29 July 2010
- “The Armed Offenders Squad was called out in Hastings, and pupils kept inside their classrooms, after reports of a man shooting at a dog in the suburb of Flaxmere just before midday…”
AOS callout in Kamo – 22 July 2010
- Residents of the town endured a 4 hour stand off during which stun grenades and tear gas were used to arrest a 35 year old man on Wilkinson Ave, opposite Kamo High School.
AOS callout in Natwon – 22 July 2010
- The AOS surrounded and cordoned off a residential property in Hamilton where a suspected sex offender was thought to be holed up. Seven distraction devices were fired into the house before police realised that he was not present. A school had to be closed during the incident.
Man shot in suburban shoot-out – 19 July 2010
- A man was shot in the stomach during an armed police callout in New Lynn, Auckland, after an attempt to use a taser failed to subdue him
Three AOS callouts in Dunedin within six hours – 19 July 2010
- Armed police were called to deal with three separate incidents in the city of Dunedin, during which 4 loud ‘distraction devices’ were used at one premises
Two police officers shot and dog killed – 13 July 2010
- The AOS were called to deal with an incident in a residential area of Christchurch after two officers were shot and a police dog killed. AOS cordoned off the area and made an arrest. Residents later told Newstalk ZB that they were terrified of the area in which they lived because of the high level of crime.
Tourists caught up in Northland shoot-out – 11 July 2010
- “A party of tourists on quad bikes near Ahipara were caught up in the aftermath of an armed “squabble” between two brothers. The group was stopped by fully kitted out Armed Offender Squad officers looking for the offenders, no doubt scaring the wits out of the visitors looking forward to a quiet day at the beach…”
Another Armed Offenders Squad call out in Auckland – 22 June 2010
- ” It’s been a busy period for the Armed Offenders Squad. ..this morning they cordoned off roads and surrounded a house in Pakuranga Road, South Auckland. Witnesses said the police were negotiating with a person holed-up in a property. The incident is thought to have ended without injury or loss of life. See “Another dickhead on the lose in Panmure“. The day finished with call out to the North Shore suburb of Hllcrest, another quiet residential area…”
Family row led to shots being fired from house – 23 June 2010
- “A Pukehina Beach man at the centre of an armed police seige after he fired several gun shots has been sentenced to 100 hours’ community work and six months’ supervision. Shaun Albert Cockburn, 39, who earlier pleaded guilty to charges of discharging a firearm near a house was sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday.”
Armed robbery sparks AOS callout in Flatbush – 18 June 2010
- An alleged shotgun robbery in Point Chevalier, Auckland, sparked off a Armed Offenders Squad call out to a residential address in Caserta Place, Flatbush, South Auckland. A cordon was set up around the house and a school closed during a ‘text book’ operation to arrest the fugitives.
Armed police called out in Southland – 10 June 2010
- “An Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) call-out, an unprovoked assault which left a man unconscious, and an aggravated dairy robbery at knife point kept Invercargill police busy overnight. At 8.50pm police received a 111 call from Bluff, reporting that a man with a weapon was threatening to kill the two other people at a property — another man and a woman…”
Police seek man after armed offenders called out -15 May 2010
- “Police say the AOS was sent out on Saturday morning to a rural property where it was thought there had been an altercation between a man and his nephew. They say the women who called them had fled the house saying she had fears for a young man after her partner had assaulted him and threatened him with a firearm.” in the Norsewood/Waipukurau area
Norsewood gunman puts lower North Island into lockdown – 5 October 2009
- “Residents of the lower north island towns of Dannevirke, Ormondville and Takapau have been advised to stay inside, lock their doors and stay away from windows after a body was found in a car abandoned by a gunman on the run. Police closed State Highway 2 between Norsewood and Waipukurau while they hunted for the man who had also fired at police and shot at a farm worker, injuring him in the arm. The offender was described as a European, aged 46 and highly dangerous. He was later named as David John Bourke from Wanganui.”
Armed sieges and gun politics in NZ – 7 May 2009
- “An armed stand-off in Chaucer Road South, Napier that started yesterday morning continues into today. A routine cannabis bust went horribly wrong when the suspect, Jan Molenaar, shot dead policeman Len Snee, 53 and critically injured 3 other people yesterday in the small tourist town of Napier, famed for its art deco architecture. Len Snee was the fifth police officer to have been shot dead since the Aramoana massacre of 1990 and one of 29 officers to have died as a result of a criminal act in New Zealand.”
Innocent bystander Killed in shoot-out – January 2009.
Courier driver Halatau Naitoko , 17, was killed in cross fire in an armed stand-off that brought an Auckland motorway to a stand still. (see video above)
- Is New Zealand moving toward a Police State by default? – 29 July 2010 “A new piece of legislation slipped through, under urgency, into the statute books last month – the Policing (Involvement in Local Authority Elections) Amendment Bill removed restrictions on serving police in New Zealand standing for local body elections.”…
- N0 Crime in Gisborne, It’s Official- 30 July 2010 “GISBORNE police have decided to restrict the information on crime they provide to media in a move to “make the community feel safer”…