Parliament needs armed guards - O'Connor

  • 23/10/2014

Armed guards in Parliament are the only way to counter the sort of attack that happened in Ottawa, Police Association president Greg O'Connor says.

The gunman who opened fire inside Canada's parliament building was shot dead by sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers.

"In Canada the guards in Parliament were armed, the sergeant-at-arms had the ability to stop this individual," Mr O'Connor said this morning.

"If that happened in New Zealand, no one would have the ability to do it."

Security at Parliament has been tightened and access restricted to two entrances, but MPs are questioning whether more needs to be done.

Labour's Phil Goff says he wouldn't like to see guards with guns outside the doors and has suggested having weapons in a locked box.

Mr O'Connor says that wouldn't work.

"A locked box with a firearm in it somewhere in the depths of Parliament simply would not do it, any more than a locked box in a police car now is sufficient to give protection to police officers or the public," he told Radio New Zealand.

The debate around security in Parliament has become part of the wider issue of whether police should be armed.

The Police Association's annual conference on Thursday called unanimously for officers to be armed all the time.

But Police Commissioner Mike Bush says that isn't going to happen.

"Assaults on police have decreased significantly over the last few years, the evidence isn't there to support what the Police Association is saying," he said.

"It's my call and I'm saying no."

Waikato University law expert Alexander Gillespie says there is a risk a similar attack could be carried out in New Zealand if we join the military effort against Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS).

"As soon as Canada said it would join the coalition, ISIS put out a video at the end of September saying 'we want attacks against Canada', and they did happen."

But even if we did join, he says the chances of an IS-inspired attack happening here would still be "remote".

"For a country about our size, we might have a dozen, maybe 20 people over there… of which there would only be one or two people who could have that intention when they came back."

Dr Gillespie believes the attack increases the likelihood New Zealand will join the fight against IS – which he says is going "very badly".

"Terrorism has been increasing, not decreasing, since the war on terror began."

NZN / 3 News

source: newshub archive