Saturday, July 13, 2024

Police call for public calm following officer assault

Police and their emergency services partners are urging communities to be patient and keep a cool head when responders are working on-scene.

Far North Area Commander, Inspector Riki Whiu says Police have recently attended scenes where tensions have run high, resulting in staff being assaulted.

“In one case an officer was knocked out and required hospital attention for his injuries. He has since recovered at home,” he said.

“This was the second time in recent months, with another officer injured by a member of the public while attending a crash in Kensington.”

Inspector Whiu says while often the circumstances of the incidents being attended are tragic, he urged people to remember emergency services are there to help.

“This behaviour is completely unacceptable. I am disappointed in the behaviour some of our communities have displayed towards members of emergency services who have committed their lives to helping others.”

“We know how utterly devastating it is when someone close to you is going through the worst of times. We see it every day and have nothing but empathy for victims and their families.

“However, regardless of emotions in some situations, there is no place for violence against those who are working to save lives.

“Please remember, all of us first responders are here to help you. We are on your side.

“We urge you to let us do our jobs and provide you with the support you need.

“Police will continue to hold those choosing to engage in this type of behaviour to account and we will take enforcement action if and when required to keep our people safe.”

Ben Lockie, Hato Hone St John’s District Operations Manager – Te Tai Tokerau, says while Hato Hone St John understands emotions can run high at emergency incidents, they have a zero-tolerance policy towards abuse or assaults on their staff, who are there helping the community.

“Our people are caring, non-judgmental medical professionals who come to work to make a difference to the lives of New Zealanders, and any abuse of our people is never acceptable, under any circumstance.”

Fire and Emergency NZ Northland District Manager, Wipari Henwood says violence and anti-social behaviour at incidents that fire fighters attend can put even more people in danger.

“Our firefighters, the majority of whom are volunteers, are committed to serving their communities and protecting what is important to them. It’s essential that they can do their jobs without fear of violence or aggression.

“Like other emergency responders, we are here to help. The public’s understanding of this can go a long way to ensuring the best possible outcome for everyone involved in an incident.

“Please remember violence towards others, no matter who they are, is unacceptable.”

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