Shooting of officer in Hamilton sparks calls for 'tougher penalties' for crime against police

A National MP is calling for tougher penalties for attacks on police after the shooting of an officer on Friday night.

The police officer was shot in the arm and shoulder area during a routine traffic stop on Bankwood St, Hamilton, just before midnight. He was transported to Waikato Hospital and remains in a stable condition.

Police said the passenger of the vehicle got out of the car with a firearm and fired at the officer. The driver then fled the scene and the man who shot the officer stole the police car and drove off.

The police car was recovered around 2:20am on Gordonton Rd, and the driver was located in Sherwood Dr just after 4am and taken into custody.

Vikaas Sharma works at a superette on Sherwood Dr, where the driver of the car was taken away in handcuffs. He told Newshub news of the shooting was "shocking".

Police said a 23-year-old man was arrested later on Saturday morning in Ngaruawahia, with the firearm believed to have been used in the shooting also recovered. 

National police spokesperson Simeon Brown said frontline officers are putting themselves in harm's way every day and the shooting was "incredibly concerning".

"In just the past few days we have seen a police officer rammed with a car in Auckland and now this shooting in Hamilton. I commend the police for their efforts in arresting the alleged gunman this morning," Brown said.

"Beyond the rising violence and day to day risk of being a police officer, we are also seeing more anti-police rhetoric imported from overseas. The demonisation of the police - even at times by elected officials - contributes to more hostility on the streets and further aggression towards officers.   

"Tougher penalties are urgently needed to send a very clear message that assaulting a police officer is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said her primary concern at the moment was for the officer, and she was wishing him a speedy recovery. 

"I really do send warm feelings to all of our police today because they'll be concerned about their colleague and it's just not a very nice moment for them," she told Newshub.