Broad: AOS training may change
If armed offenders squad (AOS) training needs to be changed, it will, says Police Commissioner Howard Broad in the wake of Friday's Auckland motorway shooting, which left an innocent man dead.
Halatau Naitoko, a 17-year-old courier van driver, was killed when a stray bullet fired by one of two AOS officers with M4 rifles struck him in the chest as they chased alleged gunman Stephen Hohepa McDonald.
Mr Broad backed the performance of armed police in such situations when he spoke to reporters at Auckland Airport this evening on his return from visiting New Zealand police working in Bougainville
"The police actually come to work to do good and that, from what I can see, was the intention of the police at the time," he said.
He said the incident was subject to investigation, but the officers involved would be looking for "any indications that the investigation is going to condemn them and they're also looking to me as the boss of the police organisation for expressions of support.
"I have confidence in what the police do in these circumstances. This is one of our specialist units. They train significantly, they've got good leadership."
Asked if he had confidence in AOS training, he said he did "at this time" but he needed to examine the circumstances.
"I am not familiar in absolute detail but there will be a careful process of working through what happened and if there's anything needs to change, it will."
AOS members are all volunteers, who must qualify at a national selection and induction course. Members then train in their districts for one day every month, plus have a three-day intensive refresher course each year.
This evening Mr Broad visited Mr Naitoko's family at their Mangere East home to pay his respects.
TVNZ reported that he met Mr Naitoko's mother and conveyed the regrets of the New Zealand police to those gathered at the home.
Outside the house, Mr Broad said the family was "demonstrating enormous humanity" and that seeing Mr Naitoko in his coffin was a hugely emotional moment.
"I feel the weight of the entire police force on my shoulders, as I should at a moment like this," he said.