Police have important additional powers but mustn’t abuse them

Open Letter to The NZ Police

From: Catriona MacLennan

Dear New Zealand Police, Aotearoa has not given you a blank cheque for your response to Covid-19.

These are unprecedented times and the government on 25 March made a State of National Emergency declaration – only the second time in New Zealand history that this has been done.

Authorities now have the power to close roads and public places; regulate land, water and air traffic; evacuate any premises; and bar people or vehicles from any premises or places.

It is hard to get our heads around the extent of these powers. They are not something most New Zealanders have ever imagined.

Despite that, most Kiwis understand and accept the decisions the government has made. An overwhelming majority of the population has accepted massive restrictions on daily life and the sweeping away of civil liberties and freedoms.

You, the New Zealand police, will be the most visible figures exercising and enforcing the new emergency powers. Police Commissioner Mike Bush explained this by saying that people would be greeted by the “friendly face” of the police during the four-week lockdown.

But, already, there is cause for concern.

A number of instances of what appears to have been heavy-handedness on your part have been reported and there also appears to be a lack of consistency in the way you are exercising your powers.

New Zealanders realise that it is extremely frustrating for you to deal with numerous people who are flouting the lockdown and refusing to comply. But it is not legal for you to come down hard on people simply because you are annoyed that enforcing the lockdown places your own health at risk.

Similarly, it is understandable that Bush said it would pay for essential workers to carry work identity cards or letters from their employers.

That makes it quick and easy for the police to see that someone should be out and about. However, you need to remember that there is no legal obligation for any New Zealander to carry such information. That means that people cannot be forced to carry such documents and it is not an offence to fail to do so.

You and other agencies need to swiftly standardise your advice about the fine detail of when people can and cannot leave their homes. Your bosses must then ensure that all staff on the ground are clear about the rules.

You need to remember that you can only police the country effectively with the consent of the public.

Contradictory messages and over-the-top enforcement will rapidly erode public goodwill and result in increasing failure to comply.

In turn, that will raise the spectre of order starting to break down. New Zealand does not want to go there.

You need look no further than the six-month trial of armed police patrols, which began in Counties Manukau, Canterbury and the Waikato on 28 October to understand why some New Zealanders are worried about the way you are exercising the pandemic emergency powers. When the pilot was announced, Bush told the public that the changed operating environment since the Canterbury mosque shootings, the impact of methamphetamine-fuelled offending and the growth in organised crime were the reasons for establishing the rapid reaction armed teams.

But figures released in early March 2020 showed that the units were deployed 75 times a day in their first five weeks. That is a staggering figure and means the teams were called out at 50 times the rate that Armed Offenders Squads were last year.

It is extremely hard to credit that this is necessary.

The public was accordingly already anxious about mission creep in your use of armed teams. The sudden conferral of wide-ranging new powers on officers arising from Covid-19 exacerbates that worry.

For Māori, the concern is even greater as they are subjected to more stops, arrests, detention and charges in normal times than other New Zealanders are.

You, the police, are there to uphold the law. New Zealand is a democracy. It is not a police state.

We, the public, will obey the new laws. But we will also be policing your use of them.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/covid-19/412906/an-open-letter-to-the-police-in-a-time-of-covid-19

Covid-19 daily update (MOH and police) – 78 new cases, total 283

Today’s update as usual from MoH’s Director General Dr Ashley Bloomfield:

78 new cases (73 confirmed, 5 probable) – quite a jump to a total of 283.

Summary

As at 9.30 am, 26 March 2020
Total to date New in last 24 hours
Number of confirmed cases in New Zealand 262 73
Number of probable cases 21 5
Number of confirmed and probable cases 283 78
Number of cases in hospital 7 2
Number of recovered cases 27 5

Map of cases - tabular data to follow.

Details: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-current-cases

Tests yesterday 2,417 and total tests 12,683 – average per day over the last week 1,400 which may partially explain the jump in number of cases.

Most cases are still linked to overseas travel, but there are also ‘clusters’ – a Wellington group were at a wedding. They are still dealing with cases related to the Ruby Princess cruise ship when it was in Napier.

From Pharmac – there has been some stockpiling so from tonight all funded prescriptions will be limited to one month’s supply (3 months for contraceptives). There is no shortage, they just need to control supply chains.

How many cases? “It may get into the thousands”.

And also Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

He first refers to the guilty plea of the Christchurch mosque murderer.

Day 1 about how the police go about responding to level 4. The majority of new Zealanders are complying.

Initially police will use their discretion and educate people when finding people way from their homes. Some will be essential workers, some will have legitimate health or food shopping reasons for travel. Some stopped by the police say they knew nothing about the lockdown.

He said that those returning to NZ from overseas today without a plan for isolation have been met by numerous officials (customs, police etc) and then triaged to locations for self isolation.

360 arrived at Auckland Airport this morning, 8 were deemed to have symptoms and a risk. 160 had no plans and also needed ‘facilitated’ with being put somewhere safe.


RNZ Live:

Marist College in Auckland says there are now 11 cases of Covid-19 at the school and more are expected tomorrow.

In a statement, the board chair Stephen Dallow, says seven teachers and four students have tested positive.

He says the principal, Raechelle Taulu, is among those who tested positive today.

The entire school of about 750 students, as well as staff, is classed as close contacts and Mr Dallow asked them to ensure strict isolation rules.

That shows how quickly and widely it can spread.

New threats directed at mosque being investigated

New threats have been made online against the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch that was the target of a mass shooting nearly a year ago.

While online attacks on Muslims have continued since the massacre I think this latest threat is more likely to strengthen defence and support of Muslims in New Zealand.

Stuff:  Worshippers at the Al Noor mosque photographed in terror threat

Members of Christchurch’s Al Noor mosque have increased their security measures following an apparent terror threat, two weeks before the first anniversary of the March 15 attack in which 51 worshippers were gunned down.

The threat was issued on Sunday night on an encrypted messaging app, accompanied by a photo of a masked man sitting in a car outside the mosque.

A police spokeswoman has confirmed an investigation into the threat is under way.

The threat and accompanying photo was posted anonymously to more than 2000 followers on a messaging channel on the encrypted communication app Telegram.

The image shows a man wearing dark sunglasses and a balaclava printed with an image of a human skull. Through a car window the front of the Al Noor mosque can be seen.

In the background, four people are visible at the entrance of the mosque.

The message attached, written in both English and Russian, implies the people at the “same mosque” would be greeting each other for the “last time”. A gun emoji, or symbol, is also used in the message.

The image was posted on a messaging channel dedicated to celebrating the March 15 terror attack.

A very small minority involved, but this is still insidious.

RNZ: Muslims on high alert after report of threat against Christchurch mosque

On Sunday, members of the Al Noor Mosque were the subject of a reported terror threat, which police are investigating.

The Islamic Women’s Council’s national co-ordinator, Anjum Rahman, said the threat was the fourth she was aware of since the attacks.

“We have been talking to authorities for some months, since last year, definitely, about preparations coming into 15 March,” Rahman said.

“Absolutely, we were expecting this and possibly worse things.”

Rahman said racist and xenophobic extremists were emboldened by the 15 March attack.

“There were two things that happened after the mosque attacks,” she said.

“The first was that huge outpouring of solidarity and support, but the other thing that happened at the same time was that people that were that way inclined felt emboldened and strengthened and more connected.

“The negative and hateful commentary online has not stopped, and I believe it influences the way these people think.”

She said the current political environment meant that people “who aren’t the targets of these kinds of threats have a louder voice than those who are vulnerable to them”.

It’s not just anonymous online extremists being called out.

Newsroom: Jones’ attacks on Indian students a timely reminder

It is extraordinary that as we approach the one-year anniversary of a devastating terror attack at two Christchurch mosques by a white supremacist, a senior politician has directed an inflammatory broadside against the Indian student community in New Zealand.

Shane Jones, the New Zealand First Minister for Infrastructure, Forestry and Regional Economic Development in the Labour-led Coalition Government, said on Saturday New Zealand’s current immigration policy is “unfettered” and specifically attacked students from India who, in his view, “have ruined many of those [academic] institutions” they have attended in this country.

While this is not the first time prominent figures have resorted to xenophobic dog whistle politics in an election year, the Christchurch atrocity highlighted the very real dangers of allowing such narratives to go unchallenged.

But Jones’ comments on Saturday are a reminder that some New Zealand politicians still do not recognise that the battle against extremism after Christchurch begins at home and that there is a responsibility to refrain from words and actions that encourage intolerance, exclusion and even violence.

In this context, not only are Jones’ words racist and inflammatory, they are also wrong. It is important to emphasise that there is no evidence whatsoever to support his specific allegations regarding Indian students, or other groups of international students more generally.

That was written by Professor Harlene Hayne, Vice-Chancellor and Robert Patman, a Professor of International Relations, both from the University of Otago.

Prime Minister Ardern has ‘reprimanded’ Jones but he seems unrepentant, saying he has a mandate from NZ First to ‘contually speak’ about immigration – see Ardern says Jones was loose and wrong, but Jones unrepentant.

Police say they expect to take action over the person or people involved in the latest threats made against Al Noor mosque.

NZ First referred to police/Serious Fraud Office

It is unclear who exactly is in the firing line (people-wise), but the the Electoral Commission has referred the party donation arrangements involving the NZ First Foundation to the police, who immediately passed the matter on to the Serious Fraud Office.

Winston Peters has rfesponded saying the party would review it’s donation arrangements.

Electoral Commission: Statement on donations enquiries

The Electoral Commission has made enquiries into issues raised regarding the New Zealand First Party and the New Zealand First Foundation and their compliance with the requirements for donations and loans.

Based on the information available, we have formed the view that the New Zealand First Foundation has received donations which should have been treated as party donations for the New Zealand First Party. In the Commission’s view, the donations were not properly transmitted to the Party and not disclosed as required by the Electoral Act 1993.

The Commission does not have the investigative powers to form a view about whether this failure to transmit and the non-disclosure means offences have been committed. These matters have therefore been referred to the New Zealand Police, which have the necessary powers to investigate the knowledge and intent of those involved in fundraising, donating, and reporting donations.

The Police immediately handed the matter on to the Serious Fraud Office.

Andrew Geddis (The Spinoff):  The NZ First donations investigation had to happen. And ignorance is no excuse

Let me start by saying that I am not in the least surprised by this development. Not. In. The. Least.

Contrary to Winston Peter’s assertions to the contrary, I know evidence when I see it. And the documentary material that Guyon Espiner shared with me for his RNZ stories here and here revealed something very unusual taking place.

In short, the material appeared to show people with involvement in running the NZ First Party accepting donations intended to help that party, banking them into a “New Zealand First Foundation” account separate from the party proper, then using that money to pay for party costs. But because those donations hadn’t made it into the NZ First Party’s account, the NZ First party secretary hadn’t reported them to the Electoral Commission.

If the donations to the NZ First Foundation are party donations (as the commission thinks), then the Electoral Act required that they be “transmitted” (i.e. handed over) to the NZ First Party’s secretary. This apparently never happened; indeed, the party secretary publicly has sought to disassociate herself from the foundation’s activities.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the secretary is off the hook. Because, if the money paid into the NZ First Foundation’s account are party donations, then they ought to have been disclosed to the Electoral Commission. And as they weren’t, then the party secretary is responsible for that failure unless she can prove she didn’t mean hide the facts and “took all reasonable steps in the circumstances to ensure that the information … was accurate.”

RNZ: Donations made to NZ First Foundation referred to police for investigation

When asked if this would have any bearing on the governing relationship between New Zealand First and Labour, Ardern said the matter had only just been referred to the SFO, and she intended to let them do their job.

“I will not pass judgement on whether or not an offence has occurred, or if it has, who may be responsible.”

She said she had been consistent when “another political party” had been under investigation.

“I let them do their job, and nor have I cast judgment on that process.”

NZ First reaction:

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters said the party would review its arrangements for party donations in light of the Electoral Commission’s decision.

“I had already advised the party last week to take this course of action and itself refer the matter to the police, which the party had agreed to do.

“This does not imply any impropriety but is intended to ensure the party, as with all parties, have robust arrangements.

“If the review deems it necessary for New Zealand First and all parties to develop new arrangements to receive donations the party will consult with the Electoral Commission”.

“I am advised that in all its dealings the Foundation sought outside legal advice and does not believe it has breached the Electoral Act.

“At this stage the SFO will consider if an offence has been committed, or otherwise, and it is not appropriate to make any comment on specific detail that prejudges their investigation”.

This is likely to take some time for the SFO to come back with a decision on whether to prosecute.

Probably not coincidentally just prior to this Peters said that they would be referring the leak of information (calling it theft) to the police. It looks more like whistle blowing, especially in light of the referral to the SFO.

Peters made a joke of the referral to the SFO of National party donations, but he is unlikely to be laughing now.

Bradbury in court today contesting secret trial

Martyn Bradbury on The Daily Blog: My trial against the NZ Police starts this month in Wellington – an invitation to NZ media

In 2014, the NZ Police secretly included me in their failed prosecution against Nicky Hager. Somehow, Cameron Slater managed to convince a friendly Police force that a shadowy conspiracy was involved in the hack against him that was the content for Hager’s ground breaking ‘Dirty Politics‘ book.

The Police illegally gained access to Hager’s bank records and illegally searched his house. At the time, I argued that the NZ Police could use their misuse of power to damage the credit ratings of activists they didn’t like, little did I appreciate how that would later encompass me.

The Human Rights Review Tribunal, the only court with the power to hold the Police to account, finally agreed to hearing my case two years after I started the process and 5 years after the Police had gotten away with it, but there was a shocking sting in the tail of that decision, the Police demanded to hold the trial in secret while using secret evidence against me to stop me from finding out why they were spying on me and who spied on me. 

In 2014, I was deeply involved with the MANA Party and talking to Kim Dotcom re his Internet Party. I was also leading the fight against the SIS and GCSB from obtaining mass surveillance powers. That there was surveillance on me and that the Police gained my banking records without any search warrant made me furious, but that the Police were now trying to hold the trial in secret simply shocked me beyond articulation.

Whatever you think of my politics, whether you vote National, Labour, NZ First, ACT or Green – we can all agree that to allow the Police to hold a secret trial using secret evidence in a court battle over their misuse of power is a precedent that simply must not be allowed to happen.

This legal battle is a unique one because the Police have never before been able to gain secret trails in a Human Rights Review case. On Wednesday 14th August, I am in Wellington with my lawyer Graeme Edgeler to argue against the State gaining the power to use secret trials.

Please note, we aren’t even at the stage where my case against the Police taking my bank records without a search warrant will actually be heard, we are debating the Police’s right to hold the trial in secret in the first place.

I appreciate that I’m deeply critical of many mainstream media journalists and that this legal battle to date has not been covered much outside of the NZ Herald or columns by  Chris Trotter and Oscar Kightley, but this legal case matters and it is unique.

If the NZ Police are able to create a precedence for secret trials using secret evidence, that impacts every single one of us as citizens in this democracy and so I invite all mainstream media to cover this exceptional trial on Wednesday 14th in Wellington. The only reason the Police are trying this on is because they don’t think anyone is paying attention.

My lawyer, Graeme Edgeler and I will be available for comment after the hearing.

The personal toll this has taken to get this case this far has been greater than I could have ever imagined, but if we individually refuse to stand against the abuse of power by the State, then we all collectively suffer.

Update – NZ Herald report on today’s hearing:  Fight over ‘secret evidence’ after police access bank records without warrant

In a Human Rights Review Tribunal hearing in Wellington this morning, lawyer for the police Vicki McCall said the tribunal must have “inherent power” to receive secret evidence.

The tribunal wouldn’t be able to determine whether means used to obtain the information were unfair or unreasonable without knowing what the circumstances of the case were, she said.

Police were “required” to withhold the information and without it they could not adequately defend themselves.

If the tribunal did not allow a closed hearing, police’s next move would be an application to strike out the case altogether.

“The claim should not, in fairness, be tried at all.”

The step could mark the first time the tribunal accepted secret evidence in a closed hearing against the objections of the person who had brought the prosecution.

Bradbury’s lawyer, Graeme Edgeler, said his client was in an “odd position”.

“Had police actually done a lawful search and found the information that had linked him to Rawshark and prosecuted him, he would be entitled to this information. The reason he’s not, is that he’s innocent,” he said.

“They’re not going to be wholly incapable of defending this claim if they can’t rely on this document.”

He said Bradbury being told what type of information police were planning to use would go some way to “assuage his concerns”.

“The blanket refusal to release this document – not explain what the document is, not explain the nature of the document – that is an interference with his privacy.”

Journalist Nicky Hager received an apology after police obtained 10 months of his banking records.

Hager wrote the book Dirty Politics based on information allegedly hacked by Rawshark.

Barrister Felix Geiringer, who acted for Hager in the Dirty Politics fallout, said it was a matter of law that procedures in hearings which were hidden from other parties were “extraordinary” and only to be used in “extremely limited circumstances, if ever”.

In Bradbury’s case, the Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has already ruled police “were not justified” asking for the banking record, and the case should have been put before a judicial officer.

Unsurprisingly the Human Rights Review Tribunal has reserved its decision, which means a decision will be made whenever they get around to it.

A decision made in favour of Matt Blomfield v Cameron Slater Hearings were held in October 2014 and February 2015, and the decision only came out on 12 March this year – see IN THE HUMAN RIGHTS REVIEW TRIBUNAL [2019] NZHRRT 13

831 new frontline Police officers in financial year

A record number of Police officers were trained in the 2018/19 financial year with 831 new front line officers deployed around the country. Since the Coalition Government was formed there have been 1,367 new recruits have graduated.  Some of those will have been planned under the previous government, but the new government has boosted those numbers.

This looks to be well on it’s way to fulfilling a commitment made in the Labour-NZ First Coalition Agreement:

Law and order

  • Strive towards adding 1800 new Police officers over three years and commit to a serious
    focus on combatting organised crime and drugs.

Government: Greatest number of new Police in a single year

Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of 78 new constables means a total of 831 new frontline Police have been deployed to communities around the country during the 2018/19 financial year.

“The previous highest number of new Police in one financial year occurred 21 years ago when 683 officers graduated during 1997/98,” says Mr Nash.

“Since the Coalition Government was formed 1,367 new recruits have graduated from the Police College at Porirua and from two innovative training wings in Auckland.

“The Wellbeing Budget contains more than $260 million in new initiatives for Police. Thanks to this new investment, Police can strengthen controls on the use of firearms. They will be able to take the most dangerous weapons out of circulation and begin the next stage of reforms to reduce the risk of firearms falling into the wrong hands.”

The new initiatives for Police include:

  • $168 million for payments and administration of the gun buyback scheme;
  • $41.8 million to tackle family violence;
  • $5.86 million for victim video statements;
  • $37.19 million to provide all emergency services (Police, Fire, Ambulance) with state of the art new digital communications capabilities and to ensure the integrity of the current system in the interim;
  • $8.778 million for other initiatives across the wider justice sector, such as mental health, addiction and alcohol and drug programmes.

“In addition we are making a substantial investment of $455 million in frontline mental health services. Police officers have been under pressure because a lack of health resources meant they were the first line of response to mental health needs. Improving mental health care is one of our long-term challenges,” Mr Nash says.

The boost in mental health services has taken longer to implement, but it should take pressure off police resources, and will hopefully reduce crime committed by people with mental health issues.

More charges including terrorism laid against Christchurch terrorist

The police have laid more charges against the man accused of the Christchurch massacres, Brendon Tarrant, including a terrorism charge.

NZ Police: Further charges filed following March 15 attack in Christchurch

Police have met with victim’s families and survivors of the March 15 Christchurch attack to inform them of new charges which have been filed, and update them on the ongoing Police investigation plus the court process to come.

A charge of engaging in a Terrorist Act under section 6A of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 has now been filed against Brenton Tarrant.

The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch on 15 March 2019 and follows consultation between Police, Crown Law and the Christchurch Crown Solicitors Office.

An additional murder charge and two additional attempted murder charges have also been filed.

51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act have now been filed against Tarrant.

Just over 200 people attended the meeting this afternoon in Christchurch.

It was led by Detective Superintendent Peter Read and Detective Superintendent Dave Lynch who are joint Senior Investigation Officers, as well as Superintendent John Price, Canterbury District Commander. Also present were Detective Inspector Greg Murton, officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Sarah Illingworth who is managing the family liaison process for Police and a number of Court Victims Advisers.

Police are committed to providing all the support necessary for what will be a challenging and emotional court process to come for the victim’s families and survivors of the attack.

As the case is before the courts no further commentary on the charges will be made by Police, Crown Law or the Christchurch Crown Solicitors office.

Edgeler added:

The murder charges are still there. It’s not an all or nothing risk.

I think this is the right decision. If convicted it shouldn’t make much if any difference to the sentence, which would surely have to be the most severe handed down in a modern New Zealand court as the seriousness of the crime is unprecedented, but the police should not decide against the most serious charge for fear of the defendant grandstanding in court. There are ways that the court can deal with that.

MP requires protection after escalation in death threats, but abuse continues

Greens MP Golriz Ghahraman now requires a security escort after an escalation in threats being made against her.

She has attracted a lot of attention in social media, and some of it from bad to despicable. I get it that some people don’t like some of what she champions and proposes, but there is no excuse for the levels of abuse she has been subjected to.

Even after the police protection was publicised there were people on Twitter blaming her for attracting abuse, and making excuses for abuse.

RNZ: Green MP Golriz Ghahraman gets security escort

Greens MP Golriz Ghahraman will have a security escort with her whenever she leaves Parliament after her security risk was escalated by police.

Ms Ghahraman said it came after a Newshub story about white supremacy revealed she was being talked about in a dangerous manner.

Her safety was put at further risk after comments made by the ACT leader David Seymour that she was a “real menace to freedom in this country”, she said.

“As you can imagine, it’s distressing to have secret white supremacist groups talking about you and to have that escalated to the level of the mainstream and I think it kind of gives us all a feeling of how those targeted communities feel.”

However, Mr Seymour disputed her safety was put at risk by his comments.

“She’s someone who gives back as good, if not a lot more, than she gets in political debate.”

Seymour has got himself into a precarious situation with this. He has helped feed to abusers and conspiracy theorists.

But he said nobody in this country deserved to be threatened with violence and no MP should have to shrink from political debate because some people were thugs and bullies.

He should take a good look at the rhetoric and escalating abuse that he has become a part of.

Scott Hamilton RTM @SikotiHamiltonR:

Seymour’s words about resonated with a conspiracy theory that’s been growing amongst conservative Pakeha since March the 15th. Visitors to the popular facebook page of former Act adman John Ansell can see the conspiracy in full bloom. Ansell & co believe that a slow moving coup d’etat began on March the 15th.

As bizarre as it sounds, they consider the atrocities of that day a ‘false flag operation’, designed to legitimise the elimination of democracy by Ardern’s ‘communist’ government. Ansell & co think they’re targets.

When Seymour called a menace to freedom, b/c she has been advocating law changes after March the 15th, his words were treated by Ansell & his fellow paranoics as further evidence of a coup d’etat & coming civil war. Seymour’s feeding some worrying delusions

There are already claims that Ghahraman requiring protection is a set up as part of a conspiracies that have been spreading – for more see Wacky conspiracies being pushed at Whale Oil.

@fhill16n Twitter:

Just to build on the conspiracy angle I see there’s a theory going around that Golriz’s need for security is being faked / overstated and is being driven by the “left-wing media” and our “communist government”

If anyone tries any of that sort of ‘speculation’ or conspiracy mongering here without any evidence to back up what they claim they will find they are not welcome here.

Since 15 March there has been a noticeable lift in abuse and making excuses for abuse.

Ghahraman has brought some criticism on herself with some of what she has claimed and proposed, but that is no reason to excuse an escalation in abuse. This is a worrying  in New Zealand politics.

 

A ‘top secret list’ of people being monitored by the police

This should be no surprise – Stuff reports that the police have a ‘top secret list’ (as it should be) of people they are monitoring, including “white supremacists, Muslim converts and people left disgruntled by the Christchurch terror attack” and “disaffected” people with firearm licences, and others with racist and radical views.

As long as there are genuine concerns about these people and the police are operating legally this should be a reassuring thing?

Stuff – Christchurch terror attack: More than 100 people being monitored by police

More than 100 people – including white supremacists, Muslim converts and people left disgruntled by the Christchurch terror attack – are being actively monitored by police.

Stuff has obtained part of a top secret list that names those who are of concern to police following the March 15 terror attack. Stuff has chosen not to name anyone on the list or contact them for security reasons.

It should be a given that Stuff doesn’t name anyone on the list, it would be highly reckless and inappropriate to do so.  Stuff seems have made a habit of praising themselves for doing what is expected (and required) of media.

The list, which is understood to have included more than 100 people, includes “disaffected” people with firearm licences, and others with racist and radical views. Police appear to be placing a large focus on social media, with one person making it onto the list for posting “concerning information”, including how to make their own live feed on social media.

Police deputy commissioner Mike Clement…

…told Stuff the operation was designed to reassure New Zealanders.

This includes raising awareness through increased visibility on the streets, and visits to thousands of schools, religious places, businesses and community centres.

“While the number of reports has increased since the Christchurch attack, fundamental to being safe and feeling safe is the willingness of people to report behaviours that concern them.

“As a result of the help of the community [we have] spoken with many individuals across New Zealand and in a few instances interventions including arrests have been undertaken.”

Canterbury district commander Superintendent John Price…

…also declined to comment on the list’s existence, but confirmed there was a group of people whose actions and behaviour had concerned police. He said the intelligence phase of the operation was focused on trying to understand other people who are of interest in the community.

“There may be some concerns around their ideologies, or the fact they may have access to illegal firearms, so that’s a large part of that, determining and then acting on that information”.

I think that if the police are aware of illegal firearms and access to them then they should be acting on that, not just monitoring them.

“A lot of it is generated through people telling us, looking through social media and other information streams that come into the mix. You scan your information sources, you then analyse those information sources and get to a point you can assess the risk of the threat level.”

“If we consider that people may have access to illegal firearms that would raise a concern, it may be that the people are expressing views that we may think is not aligned with our way as New Zealanders”.

“If we think there’s an inherent risk through that intel we will act on it depending on how considered the threat is to the community as a whole.”

Not surprisingly, there is nothing much new about this apart from increased efforts after the mosque killings.

The intelligence model was nothing new, with police regularly using it for other areas of heightened focus to establish more informed information, including family harm, burglaries, volume crime and organised crime.

Clement asked that people remained “vigilant”.

“Be aware of your surroundings and if you see something that doesn’t look right or is suspicious, report it to police. We would sooner investigate those concerns in a preventative way even if those concerns were unfounded.”

If any of your saw things said of concern online would you report it to the police?


More from Gezza:

A Wellington convert who describes himself as “probably the most radical Muslim” in the city says he is happy to co-operate with police and understands their concern.

The man, in his 30s, said he was probably on a top secret list, obtained by Stuff, that names some of more than 100 people police are monitoring since the March 15 attack.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-shooting/112302738/radical-muslim-convert-happy-for-police-to-do-due-diligence

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.