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Gun Wouldn't Have Helped In Ambush -- Broad

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 13 NZPA - Having a firearm in a lock box in his patrol car may not have directly helped the Taihape policeman brutally attacked with a machete at the weekend, Police Commissioner Howard Broad says.

"He was surprised from behind," Mr Broad told journalists today after presenting Police Minister Judith Collins with a report saying there should be more firearms accessible to police on the frontline.

But Mr Broad said that if Senior Constable Bruce Mellor had received the kind of extra training envisaged for policemen asked to use the firearms, then he might not have got into trouble in the first place.

"If he had additional training about risk assessment, and we were absolutely sure that he was completely (trained) across the skills and the knowledge and the appreciation on which that is dependent, then he might not have got into that situation."

Mr Mellor, a 35-year police veteran who is aged in his 50s, suffered gashes to his head, a broken jaw and multiple skull fractures. He is missing some teeth and has a broken eye socket. A finger on his left hand was nearly hacked off and his eyes are almost completely closed due to swelling caused by repeated blows to the head.

He is likely to undergo facial reconstruction surgery in Wellington.

The policeman was attacked just north of Taihape on Saturday morning during a routine traffic stop. He is in a serious but stable condition in Palmerston North Hospital.

Mrs Collins said she did not think access to a firearm would necessarily have help Mr Mellor.

"I don't know that it would have, certainly from what Bruce said to me," said Mrs Collins, who yesterday described the attack as "horrendous" and "utterly sickening" .

Mr Broad said that if Mr Mellor had been wearing a weapon when he was hit from behind, the gun could have been taken off him by the offenders.

"If you're unconscious, then your ability to defend yourself has gone and if you're giving up a weapon, that makes it a very dangerous situation."

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