Police rethink protection strategies one year on from the Christchurch mosque attacks

The police say they've had to change the way they work and rethink their protection strategies since the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush told Newshub Nation on Saturday they've been a lot busier in the year since the attack, because the public is more likely to come forward when they see something happen.

"New Zealand lost its innocence that day," he told host Simon Shepherd. 

"What we saw there was unprecedented, and it was something we never want to see again, and we will strive with our partners to make sure that we do everything to prevent anything like that happening again.

"The public have been great in terms of bringing things to us where they might have a suspicion. Like us, they want to make sure that everyone's safe."

Bush says the police have had to reflect on how they operated that day and what they can change to make them work better in the future.

"What we're doing is we took a stocktake after this to ask ourselves if the way we policed was appropriate. 

"What we agreed was absolutely, but we needed to do more of it - especially in terms of our outreach to all communities, but also the way we equip and train our staff."

Part of this new thinking includes a strategy for protecting crowded spaces that was outlined in the police's annual report. Bush says it will be launched soon.

"It's in line with international best practice, about making sure that where people gather, they'll be safe together, and putting things in place to ensure that occurs."

He says the new plan will ensure the public are free to go about how they normally do, but there will be better safety protection in how they manage busy spaces.

Since the mosque attacks, Bush says the police have also had to rethink their stance on officers carrying guns, but ultimately decided to continue being a largely unarmed service.

"That's something we stopped and asked ourselves, and we did an evidence research on whether or not being routinely armed kept police and their communities safer. There's nothing to suggest it does."

He says the new outlook has put the police "in a really good place".

A memorial service will be held on Sunday to commemorate the mosque shooting tragedy and the 51 people who died.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz