The Armed Response Team trials have ended. Racism in policing in Aotearoa has not.
We need to continue to fight for the disarmament of all police.
Arms Down NZ has broadened our focus. We need to disarm the police in general and prevent police violence, whether it’s done with guns or with other force.
Pasifika people are 3x more likely than Pākehā to be the victims of police violence. Māori are almost 8x more likely.
More police with guns in brown neighbourhoods will lead to more police bullets in brown people.
Police will continue to commit racist attacks if we don’t stop them.
From 1846 onward, various militia came together to form the New Zealand Armed Constabulary force, to ‘combat Māori hostiles and to keep civil order’. In 1885, they changed uniforms and became the New Zealand Police. We’re still feeling the effects of that racist whakapapa today.
The trial of the Armed Response Teams has been halted. This is a huge victory, and we are right to celebrate this reprieve and the removal of this threat to our safety. But even without ARTs, brown communities have been killed and brutalised at the hands of armed police. This danger in our communities has not gone away.
Violent police do not reduce violence in our communities.
The solution to interpersonal harm is not state violence, it is social services that meet our needs. We need help, not teams of police commandos pointing machine guns at us.