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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 30 November 2021

Four police officers shot during New Zealand siege

One officer is serious but stable, the others did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Image: Shutterstock/Schmidt_Alex

FOUR POLICE OFFICERS in New Zealand were shot yesterday during a siege at a rural property that began when an offender started taking potshots at an aircraft being used in an anti-drug operation.

One officer was serious but stable and the injuries sustained by the other three were not life-threatening, Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement said.

Police plane under fire

He said the siege, which was still ongoing at 6pm (5am GMT), began after a police plane searching for cannabis came under fire near the remote North Island town of Kawerau.

The Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) was deployed and four of its officers were shot in a stand-off at a rural property.

“It is always distressing for us all when officers are injured doing their duty,” he told reporters in Wellington.

Clement said no one was injured aboard the plane that came under fire, adding that indications pointed to a lone offender, but he was unable to go into too much detail.

“I simply can’t, it’s an investigation that’s ongoing,” he said. “He might indeed be watching us now on his own television.”

Gun laws

Regular police in New Zealand do not carry firearms on their person, relying on the specialist AOS. They also have firearms in their vehicle, but have to tell a supervisor if the gun needs to be removed.

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The country tightened its gun laws to restrict access to semi-automatic rifles in 1992, two years after a man shot dead 13 people in the South Island town of Aramoana.

However, anyone over 16 can apply for a standard firearms licence after doing a safety course, which allows them to purchase and use a shotgun unsupervised.

- © AFP, 2016

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