Jacinda Ardern messages Kiwi rapper Tom Scott over armed police

Kiwi rapper Tom Scott has shared private Twitter messages he received from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about an armed responder squad trial.

Over the last week, Scott has posted several tweets criticising the arming of police.

"More police does not fix the problem," he said on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, he wrote: "Honestly, we gotta do something about this. i'm not crying wolf. this militarisation of the police has to stop. 

"Someone hit me up and let's do something. we gotta go rally at the bee hive or something. this is just not the one."

He also shared a screenshot of two Twitter messages he received from the Prime Minister appearing to relate to the six-month trial of Armed Response Teams (ARTs) announced in October. 

The units are composed of three Armed Offender Squad members with a specialist vehicle equipped with tactical options. They are running in Counties Manukau, Waikato and Canterbury.

Their focus is to respond to "events where significant risk is posed to the public or staff and supporting the execution of pre-planned and high-risk search warrants, high-profile public events and prevention activities".

In her messages, Ardern says the Government can't tell police what to do "operationally". 

"The trial they've been running around on call armed offender squads? The trial will end after a few months and then they'll stop and go back to communities to talk about how it went," she said.

"We can't tell the police what to do operationally, but a few of us did meet with the Commissioner recently and share our views on it."

A second message said: "I've also said publicly many times, I don't support the general arming of the police. Never will.

"Won't happen while I'm in this job. That we do get a say in."

Scott - who won the THREE Album of the Year award at the New Zealand Music Awards this month as part of the Avantdale Bowling Club - also recently shared a petition to "say no to 'Armed Response Teams'".

The units have been criticised by some groups as being unnecessary and more likely to target Maori communities.

"Putting more police with guns on the streets won’t protect communities or help us feel safe," the petition says.