Oops - police lose pistols and a Taser
Three police-issued Glock pistols, gun parts and a Taser have been lost or stolen - and police have no idea where any of them might be.
They have also damaged a further 33 weapons in the past five years, including two rifles that were run over, information obtained by The Dominion Post has revealed.
Superintendent Barry Taylor said that, though any weapon going missing was "not acceptable", the number lost was small.
Two of the Glocks "went missing while in transit between Warkworth and the police armoury" in 2007, one was recorded missing in Kawerau in 2000, and parts of another gun went missing en route to the Wellington armoury in 2008.
The two guns from Warkworth never reached Wellington. They had been disassembled and dispatched in parts on consecutive days, but both packages went missing. If combined, the component parts of the Glocks could be rebuilt into working firearms.
"There's four incidents since 2000. While it's not acceptable and it's viewed very seriously . . . we have to be realistic and practical about it," Mr Taylor said. "They were four isolated incidents."
There are 1037 Glocks, 908 Bushmaster rifles and 908 Tasers in operational police service.
But police admit they are unsure whether the missing guns and Taser were lost or stolen. The Taser is believed missing in Christchurch after being left inside a police safe that was sent for servicing.
"The circumstances surrounding each of the missing weapons were thoroughly investigated at the time [but] the investigations were inconclusive regarding whether or not the weapons were stolen," a police spokeswoman said.
"None of the police Glocks, Glock parts or the missing Taser have been recovered despite extensive inquiries and investigations into their disappearance," police documents reveal.
Police Association president Greg O'Connor said the missing police guns had simply joined an already large number of unregistered guns throughout the country.
"No number [of lost police guns] is acceptable, but we don't live in an ideal world. There's unfortunately plenty of guns out there, illicit guns."
Since 2007, in addition to the lost weapons, four rifles and 29 Tasers have been damaged.
The police spokeswoman said the damage was not unusual - even though 21 of the 29 Tasers damaged in the past five years were damaged this year.
"Tasers are a frontline operational weapon which are used frequently by police staff across the country, and the occas- ional damage to Tasers is just part of the rigours of the job," she said.
It is understood each Taser, delivered in packages that also contain a Taser camera, holster, download tools and warranty, costs about $4500.
Police would not say how much their Glocks cost.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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