13 Oct 2010

Giving police guns will lead to arms race - lawyer

6:02 pm on 13 October 2010

Frontline police officers look set to get easier access to guns under a range of options being considered.

However, a human rights lawyer warns this could spark an arms race with criminals.

Police Minister Judith Collins says she does not think officers need to be routinely armed at this point, but she would support installing firearm lock-boxes in patrol cars.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor says this may not go far enough and the union wants gun holsters for every officer.

He says the shooting of nine police officers in the past two years, including two deaths in the line of duty, shows the status quo is not working.

Human rights lawyer Michael Bott says further arming of police will prompt more criminals to get guns.

He says the more weapons there are in circulation, the greater the likelihood that innocent people will get hurt.

Mr Bott says the argument for introducing tasers was they would be an alternative to lethal force, but it appears the police wanted only to add more weapons to their arsenal.