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Collins Blames Media For Falling Respect For Police After Attack

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Judith Collins
Judith Collins

Wellington, NZPA - Police Minister Judith Collins says media reporting on police conduct and pursuits has caused a drop in respect for the force, which was leading to attacks such as that on a Hastings police officer.

Community Constable Alan Daly was allegedly punched, stomped on and had his radio smashed into his face after stopping a car in Clive, 10km northeast of Hastings, yesterday afternoon.

Lance Christopher Pirini, 31, of Mt Roskill, and Joy Moana Leaf, 31, of Onehunga, appeared in Hastings District Court today charged with grievous bodily harm.

They were remanded in custody until September 29.

The 45-year-old police officer -- a 25-year veteran of the force -- was taken to hospital with a suspected broken nose and cheekbone.

He was today in a stable condition in Hawke's Bay Hospital and had spoken to Police Minister Judith Collins about the attack.

Ms Collins said Mr Daly was "in good heart, doing very well [and] looking forward to getting back to work".

"Senior Constable Daly is very lucky that he's alive and in my opinion he was very fortunate," she said.

The "very vicious" attack arose from "a situation where there has been a growing lack of respect for the rule of law, and all the attacks on police in the media and elsewhere doesn't help," she said.

"I think it's very important to acknowledge that over the last decade or so there have been numerous attacks (in the media) on the police. There have been the reports into police conduct, all those sorts of things, none of which have actually encouraged people to increase their respect for the police."

Asked if she was saying media reports were a factor in yesterday's attack, Ms Collins said: "No, I'm certainly not saying [that]. You shouldn't jump to conclusions."

Ms Collins said officers going out on their own was not the issue.

"We've always had police officers on their own in country areas. That didn't necessarily lead to attacks on police.

"What is leading to attacks on police is some people think it's okay to do that and they are often -- I'm not talking about this particular case -- but they are often got methamphetamine in their system, drugs and alcohol are a very deadly combination, that and no respect for the law."

A proposal to make firearms more available to frontline officers like Mr Daly could have led to him approaching the incident differently, though was possible the alleged offenders could have taken his weapon and used it on him or someone else, she said.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor earlier said the assault strengthened the case for police to carry firearms.


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