Eight stolen firearms recovered

The police were embarrassed when 11 firearms that had been surrendered were stolen in a burglary of the Palmerston North police station. Not surprisingly they have worked hard to locate the stolen weapons. They have now recovered 8 of them.

Two days ago:- Police hunt for man who stole 11 firearms from Palmerston North police station

Police are urgently seeking a 38-year-old man after weapons – some handed in for destruction – were stolen from the Palmerston North police station.

Acting Central District Commander Inspector Sarah Stewart said police were embarrassed about the theft, and it shouldn’t have happened.

She said the police would do everything they can to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Ms Stewart said people should still have faith in the ability of police to keep recently banned firearms safely secured during the gun amnesty period.

Police are looking for Alan James Harris in relation to the burglary. He was known to police through previous dealings with him, she said.

Police and Armed Offenders Squad staff have searched Palmerston North properties over the past 24 hours as part of the ongoing investigation.

The burglary occurred early on Thursday morning. Police say a member of staff disturbed a person in the yard area of the police station around 7.40am. They say he left the scene in a vehicle, which police have since recovered along with another vehicle linked to the same person.

Commissioner Mike Bush has directed an investigation be conducted into how an offender was able to gain access to the police station, as well as an immediate audit on security around firearms at all stations nationwide.

Yesterday: Alan James Harris arrested

Police have arrested Alan James Harris who was being sought following a burglary at the Palmerston North police station on Thursday morning.

Harris was arrested without incident in Palmerston North in the early hours of Saturday morning.

He was identified by a member of the public in the central city and Police were immediately notified.

Today:

Eight stolen firearms recovered in Palmerston North

Eight firearms have been recovered by police following a burglary at the Palmerston North police station on Thursday 25 April.

The eight firearms were recovered in Palmerston North earlier today as part of the ongoing investigation into the burglary.

Locating the three remaining firearms which are still unaccounted for continues to be a high priority for Central District police.

Of the 11 firearms taken in the burglary, one was unlawful under the new Government legislation. This weapon is among the eight which have been recovered today.

The remaining firearms were older guns and a BB gun which were not covered under the new legislation but were awaiting destruction, or were being held as exhibits.

Acting Central District Commander Inspector Sarah Stewart says police are very focused on securing the remaining three firearms.

“We continue to appeal for anyone with information to contact us.  You can speak to Palmerston North police directly on 0800 351 3600 or you can provide information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

“The investigation team has worked tirelessly throughout the weekend and they will continue to do so,” says Ms Stewart.

A 38-year-old man appeared in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday charged with burglary and was remanded in custody until 21 May.

A dumb crime to commit unless he wanted to be caught.

 

Geiringer on National’s gang ‘crack down’ policy

Yesterday Paula Bennett, the current Minister of Police, announced new policy that would ‘crack down on gangs and drugs’ – see National’s gang and drugs policy.

The most contentious parts of this policy:

  • Giving Police new power to search the cars and houses of the most serious criminal gang members at any time to ensure they don’t have firearms through new Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs)
  • Imposing new obligations on gang members on a benefit so that if they can’t justify expensive assets, they can have their benefit cancelled or be declined a benefit

Bennett conceded it would reduce the human rights of ‘criminals’ – at the search stage they have not been convicted.

@BarristerNZ (Felix Geiringer) tweeted:

A Twitter rant about human rights, & how human rights law does not interfere with the legitimate conduct of police investigations.

Human rights law merely sets a minimum standard of State behaviour that must be afforded to all so we live in a free & democratic society.

Human rights law does not exempt anyone from our criminal laws. It is not even a guarantee of good treatment.

The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act does not guarantee freedom from being searched, just from being unreasonably searched.

Our State isn’t prohibited from discriminating on the basis someone commits crimes, only on grounds like sex, race, religion, disability.

Powers to search usually require reasonable grounds –basically info that means it’s reasonable to think thing being searched for is there.

Limitations on our rights are also permitted so long as they are demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society.

Justifiable limitations need to be for a legitimate purpose, rationally connected to achieving that purpose, and proportionate.

National saying it will deny human rights to worst criminals is appealing to our basest instincts, but it doesn’t make policing sense.

It means conducting searches when a reasonable assessment of the information the Police holds gives no basis to justify such a search.

It means conducting a series of searches when that targets people on grounds of sex, sexuality, race, or religion, not just criminality.

It means conducting unreasonable searches, and doing so in a way that doesn’t reduce crime, or achieves little while intruding lots. In other words, it may legalise bad policing but does nothing to extend the powers of police doing good work to reduce crime.

Human rights are a collective, not just individual, good. We all benefit from their protection, & from the society they create.

But human rights law only works in this way if it is universal and inalienable. Don’t let National tell you otherwise.

Police can already search any place or vehicle w/o a warrant w reasonable grounds to suspect there’s a firearm in breach of the Arms Act or a lawful firearm used in serious crime, that a deranged person may use to hurt someone, possessed by subject of a protection order possessed by someone against whom there are grounds for a protection order, or that is evidence of serious crime or Arms Act breach.

If police have reasonable grounds to suspect a crime & reasonable grounds to believe there is evidence they can get a warrant. But also in many drugs cases, if they think the evidence may get destroyed while they wait for a warrant they can go ahead & search without one.

These are all powers that already exist. The suggestion that the police are somehow hamstrung in gang drugs & guns cases is fiction.

 

Police recently visited Whangarei killer

In a new development in the Whangarei shooting, in which two female property inspectors were shot dead and a maintenance man injured, the police have revealed that they visited the property last month.

RNZ:  Whangarei shooting: Police recently visited killer

Quinn Patterson killed property manager Wendy Campbell, 60, and her 37-year-old daughter Natanya on Wednesday morning when they visited his home with a contractor to install smoke alarms. The contractor was also shot, but managed to escape and raise the alarm.

Northland District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou said police investigated a structure being built there last month, and were told it was to be used for target practice.

Police decided it was a tenancy matter, rather than one for them.

Police said the visit to the property formed part of the ongoing investigation into Patterson’s background.

There have been reports that Patterson, aged in his 50s, had multiple guns and other weapons, including grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

People using firearms in rural areas is common. There can be many legitimate and innocent reasons for using them.

I wouldn’t mind if police asked to see my firearms license just as a check.

Perhaps if there are any checks on rural properties it should include a check of whether firearms are present and whether there are firearms licenses.

Real guns good, toy guns bad

Only in the USA – at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio it will be legal to openly carry real firearms, but toy guns won’t be allowed.

Wall Street Journal:

Ahead of GOP Convention, Cleveland Officials Affirm Protesters May Carry Guns

But water guns, toy guns, knives, aerosol cans, rope, tennis balls are barred

Cleveland officials said Wednesday that they will uphold the right of protesters at the Republican National Convention to carry firearms even as they expressed opposition to the state’s open carry laws.

Speaking to reporters in advance of the Republican National Convention next week, both Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson and police Chief Calvin Williams said they were bound by the state’s laws allowing people to carry guns even if they disagreed with them.

“Our intent is to follow the law. And if the law says you can have open carry, that’s what it says. Whether I agree with it or not is another issue,” said Mayor Jackson in a press conference.

That was a sentiment also echoed by the city’s police chief. Asked if he would prefer that people be prevented from carrying weapons at the Republican National convention, Chief Williams said, “Of course.”

“It’s the law in this state. As police chief, I’m bound to uphold the law in this state,” he added.

The group Oath Keepers said this week that they would appear at the RNC armed, while the chairman of the New Black Panther Party also said that his group may carry weapons at an event designed to protest police brutality in advance of the RNC. Event organizers of the police brutality event later said that no armed demonstrators were expected.

Just to make sure that nothing bad happens:

Cleveland has banned a wide array of items inside a broad zone in downtown Cleveland around the convention site, including water guns, toy guns, knives, aerosol cans, rope, tennis balls and others.

But because of Ohio’s open carry laws, protesters who legally own a firearm will be allowed to carry it near the convention center.

This doesn’t make sense.

I’m sure carrying ropes, tennis balls and water guns is not illegal generally under Ohio laws.

The right to carry them probably isn’t enshrined in law though.

However it seems very odd that safe things can be banned and firearms can’t.