NZ one of few countries that doesn't routinely arm police

(File)
(File)

Police shooting incidents here and overseas have reignited debate about whether officers need to be armed.

The New Zealand Police Association says 70 percent of frontline police want to be able to carry guns.

They say it's because they're dealing with more criminals who have weapons.

Earlier in July, Hamilton police fatally shot a man who'd allegedly threatened them with a gun; two days later Rotorua police critically injured a man after he reportedly confronted them with a 1.2m-long blade.

New Zealand police were armed until 1886, when it was decided their role was to protect, not oppress.

We're now one of just a few countries which don't routinely arm police, instead storing guns in locked boxes in frontline patrol cars.

Others include Britain, Norway, Iceland and many of the Pacific Islands

New Zealand police aren't nearly as heavily armed as our Australian neighbours, where general duty state and federal police carry guns.

However, in 2014 there was a dramatic spike in fatal shootings by police, which sparked calls for more training.

Then of course there's the United States, where all cops are armed.

In large part this is because the public are allowed to freely carry guns in many states.

Ohio has an "open carry" law, which means you can take a gun anywhere - yet there are some places where umbrellas are banned.

But because New Zealand's gun laws are much more strict it's highly unlikely the sight of armed police will ever be common on our streets.

Newshub.

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