Previous Post
Next Post


“I have no doubt that carrying handguns would compromise officers’ ability to do their regular work, because when you carry a weapon, your primary concern is to protect that weapon. If this was balanced by a clearly demonstrable increase in personal protection, it would be a price to consider paying. But the protection offered by a firearm — particularly a pistol — is more illusory than real.” – New Zealand police commissioner Howard Broad in Why Cops in Britain and New Zealand Don’t Carry Guns [at]

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. He may have a valid point. For cops in NZ. We could always try an experiment here in this country and disarm our cops for a year and see how it goes.

    Maybe just NYPD as a start. See if that effects officer or citizen safety to any degree.

    • NYPD and DC PD for starters. In addition, the mayors of each city should disarm their protection details.

    • That would be an interesting experiment. Especially since the article seems to say that the real reason that police in these countries are disarmed is due to a history of police brutality. Some places do seem to have a “I have it so I should use it” mentality.

  2. “But the protection offered by a firearm — particularly a pistol — is more illusory than real.”

    That statement very well could be true … it all depends on the threat profile and desired outcome. If the worst threat that New Zealand police face are petty criminals who limit themselves to intimidating people with harsh language and looks, and the desired outcome is that police can file accurate reports after the fact, then unarmed police are definitely the right choice in my book.

    • I think the greatest threat you would see in New Zealand is someone having sex with someone else’s sheep.

    • Yes, some validity. Pistols aren’t as effective as most (non-gun) people think. Too many Hollywood shots of people taking one hit from a 9mm, flying five feet backward and hitting the ground already dead.

      That said, rather have one than not have one. Just get the cops some decent retention holsters if they don’t already use them (surely they must?)

      • The only real question for NZ is how much they have to pay to make their cops take the risk. If it’s reasonable, why not? If cops start getting killed en masse (as has happened before in London), they will arm the police or they won’t have any police. I’m pretty sure the 2A does not guarantee that a person can carry a weapon during performing the duties of his employment, including police.

    • I bet your opinion on that would change a whole lot if a guy high on cocaine was charging your partner with a 4″ buck knife. A handgun can be a highly effective weapon. It’s a shame more people on TTAG don’t understand that.

      • Of course your perspective would change. I think his point was that it happens so few times as a whole that the quality of police work (intelligence type work and higher order thinking) to solve crimes is replaced by brute force methods (requiring you to protect your gun and yourself rather than walk away and get him later) and there is no real difference in the overall policeman’s safety.

        A certain number will be killed whether they have guns or not.

        Now, I certainly would not want to be killed if a gun would save me, but I also don’t want to kill someone by a mistake I made, which we see a small minority of the time, but still waaayy too often.

    • the worst threat that New Zealand police face are petty criminals who limit themselves to intimidating people with harsh language and looks, and the desired outcome is that police can file accurate reports after the fact, then unarmed police are definitely the right choice in my book.”

      If this is true, the key questions are: why is this so? And can these conditons be recreated elsewhere?

  3. So in New Zealand, only the criminals are allowed to have guns. Boy they really screwed the pooch hiring these whack jobs.

  4. Yeeeeah… I don’t suppose ISIS will be pulling a rabbit out of their hats any time soon, so you might want to get that gun after all.

    • A few NYC ISIS style hatchet attacks and they may change their minds

      The pointy object attacks in China changed their minds.

      • Excellent point (no pun intended). Hadn’t thought of that. Leave it to the Chicoms to see the light before the Brits and their former colonies…not to mention certain elements hereabouts…

  5. Their nice color charts clearly show that getting murdered by “sharp objects” like knives are WAY higher than “the Americas” (36 countries???)

  6. Culture eats strategy for lunch. If you have a society infused with crappy subcultures, then all your best intentions and easy living strategies go out the window and you resort to plan B. The U.S. is deluged by such violent subcultures, so we must carry self defense firearms.

    In a near homogenous, remote, and idyllic island nation like New Zealand, perhaps you can get away with beat cops being unarmed. That’s still no reason to disarm the the populace, though.

    • Interestingly enough there are multiple studies that show that by and large each demographic/cultural group here in the US has lower crime/violence rates than they do in their native countries. But no, guns lead to violence so that cant be true.

      • That’s to be expected. People come from high violence countries and bring that nonsense with them to the U.S. Mixing with the native born U.S. population and our existing culture would tend to temper their violent propensities somewhat., nut mot eliminate them. Makes perfect sense that the mixture of the two would be less violent than back in their third world hell hole, but still more violent than if they weren’t here at all.

        The violent subcultures I was referring to, however, includes urban subcultures comprised of individuals whose families have been in the U.S. for many generations. As such, they can’t really be considered representatives of their homeland, anymore. Nevertheless, they still maintain a set of mores, folkways and priorities distinct from mainstream America.

        It is the presence of those subcultures, albeit part of the overall American fabric now, that drives the necessity of carrying self defense firearms for personal protection and law enforcement here as opposed to NZ.

      • Gaah, no we don’t have to speak French here. But we do have similar extinct birdlife. We are much bigger and more similar to Canada out of all the Commonwealth countries. Don’t tie us in with Australia. They were all transported convicts. Well, actually so were some of my ancestors. And we have Maoris, they have Aboriginals. We have no poisonous snakes or spiders, they have the most ferocious and toxic in the world. We speak differently. Ausdtralian Police are all armed. They have to be. Ours don’t, but some are, on occasion, as the situation demands it.

    • New Zealand has the least stringent gun laws in the English speaking world outside of the US. Given the culture and the armed citizenry the cops probably don’t need guns. Remember, the purpose of the Bobbie’s whistle back in the old days was to summon armed citizens to his aid.

  7. The cops there have the sheep to focus on. . .

    Anyway – great idea for disarming experiment. Chicago, DC, NY, Philly PD disarm. Miami, Dallas, St Louis, Detroit cops stay armed. Start the clock on Jan 1. Go until Dec 31. Let’s see how this works out for the po-po. My $$ is on the boys in blue with the Glock on their hip

  8. One bad guy with pistol pointed at a NZ Or British bobby would turn that Illusion into reality.. and soiled underpants for the poor unarmed cop.

    • There have been a few unarmed officers who confronted armed offenders, and some have been shot and killed. These were brave men. In dangerous circumstances Police use Bushmaster .223s and Glock sidearms. Most Police cars have weapons in the trunk (which we call a boot). Not exactly instant access. But Police commanders are politicians and have no front line skills. Yet they make the rules. In one armed standoff, an Army armoured vehice was used (but not the cannon, which confused me).

  9. WOW!!!! He must spend most of his paycheck buying unicorn feed and paying leprechaun’s to herd them.

  10. because when you carry a weapon, your primary concern is to protect that weapon.

    How would you know?

    • He knows through his expertise gained by a complete and total lack of familiarity with firearms, zero hours of training, and a general sense of discomfort even discussing the subject.

  11. 1. That why there are retention holsters, while the person is trying to take your weapon your hands will be free to punch them in the face repeatedly to get them off you.

    2. I assure you shooting somebody is not illusory, it is quite real.

  12. Im from the uk most cop there dont carry and if you are comiting a crime and are found with a gun the sentnce is much longer I think the reason more crimes here in the USA are comitted with firearms is for the same reason we carry for protection If the cop doesnt need a gun neather does the criminal

    • Why risk the extra punishment of being caught with a gun when you can terrorize an entire town and get whatever you want using a couple of guys armed with knives and machetes? Yeah I get it.

      • And I will happily go along with the idea of a test. We already have a lot of enhanced punishments for committing crimes with a gun, all we have to do is inform the police they may no longer carry a gun. There are cops here. How do you guys think that will go over with the cops in America?

        Cops can always appeal to bystanders if a gun is needed.

    • They may be stab resistant instead of bullet resistant, if they expect more knife crime than guns.

  13. Unrelated comment: Either the clickbait image links that have nothing to do with firearms go or I do. I know you have to make money, but that crap is not the way to go. Sell me guns, sell me gear, sell me political speech even, but “Here’s X number Of Nouns That Are Completely Adjective” crap is for the birds.

    • I don’t understand how anyone gets anything done without Adblock, TTAG lags and hangs and auto-refreshes constantly if I turn it off.

  14. I travel to Europe and Asia often for my job. One thing I’ve noticed, for those areas where cops do not carry guns, there’s always at least two in a car together, more often three or more. In high crime areas they travel four per car. Not three to a car because they are on an emergency call, three cops to a car because that’s how they patrol.

    When I ask my collegues who live there about it, they just take it as a matter of fact, of course they have to travel together like that, how else are they going to protect themselves.

    It seems to me one cop with a gun is a hell of a lot more efficient that three cops without one.

  15. During my misspent youth, I worked as an (unarmed) security guard. During that period, I encountered numerous individuals who were unreasonably angry, intoxicated, mentally ill, or all of those things. Several of them carried weapons of some sort. Based on those experiences, I’d rather be armed the next time I have to deal with an angry schizophrenic drunk armed with a knife.

    I believe in the power of sweet reason, but reason can look even sweeter when backed up with a Glock and a fresh can of Oleoresin Capsicum.

    • I’ve spent over a decade working in healthcare security (with a brief stop as an EMT-Security Officer at a hotel-casino). I deal with the kind of people you mention during just about every shift. I have never carried a firearm. The only weapon I’ve carried was OC Pepper Foam (foam sticks to the assailant, which is preferable in a healthcare setting). Generally, my verbal skills are sufficient. When those don’t work, escort/restraint techniques (applied quickly before most people can react) and teamwork usually work pretty well. So do I NEED a firearm to do my job. Not usually. Should my colleagues and I have the OPTION of carrying a firearm–or should their be a contingent of armed officers for special response situations– just in case. Absolutely!

      The reason most private security officers don’t carry firearms isn’t because their work environments are safe. In my case, the hospital environment is quite dangerous if you consider the number of on-the-job assaults experienced by healthcare employees. Organizations prohibit the carrying of firearms by private protection staff due to liability concerns, because said organizations are too cheap to provide proper training (including retention) and–especially in the case of healthcare–because of an inherent squeamishness about guns by upper management. There is also a statist impulse involved here: The (unfounded) idea that only police are qualified to deal with armed assailants. So it goes…

  16. Ha! Guns aren’t for protecting you? So the unarmed cops in the UK should have charged the radicals who beheaded that soldier instead of waiting for the guys with guns.

    This is obvious crap.

    Why doesn’t he spend a week unarmed policing in Chiraq, THEN tell us he doesn’t need a gun. :p

  17. Oh goody, another anti-gun propaganda piece published by a New York city based financial media outlet. Whose hand do we see here? Could it be Shannon’s Sugar Daddy?

  18. I wonder how Commissioner Broad would feel if he was up to his ass in Crips, Bloods, MS-13s, Latin Kings and whole cities full of affiliated and unaffiliated scvmbags.

  19. Everyone has an opinion. I have one and a 938 in my pocket. I mainly carry to protect my dog. Thankfully I live in a state that recognizes Constitutional rights.

  20. Let’s have NZ cops rotate through Chicago and Detroit on “fellowships” and THEN see what they have to say on this topic.

  21. The tiny population of New Zealand is not representative of ANYTHING in the USA, An extremely diverse population of 319000000 does that. As does the Bill of Rights.

  22. Perhaps our limited population stands as a test case for a blend of old world (UK bobby) meets new world (Pasifika laid back). There is a lot of respect for Police here, and any threats to personnel get sorted swiftly, usually with the Armed Offenders Squad. Career criminals don’t carry weapons against Police, only for robbing other dealers. Our Police are armed, some regularly, but politicians, including Police Commissioners, don’t want this widely known.

    Howard Broad is guilty of the biggest abuse of Police powers in over a century. He declared war on Tuhoe, a more or less independent Maori tribe living in a remote mountain area. Masked police carrying M4s invaded their territory, children were separated from mothers, families were held at gunpoint and restrained, and mass arrests took place. A few minor convictions resulted. This heavy handed approach later led to an apology through gritted teeth, but it has scarred a generation of Tuhoe youth.

    Howard Broad was not fit for his office, and should have gone to jail himself if there was any justice. He is a complete idiot and is ignored by everyone who knows his history.

    Tuhoe is one of the few areas where there has not been extensive intermarriage between white (Pakeha) settlers and Maori original inhabitants. That has created a sense of family in our country unequalled elsewhere. Our later immigrants, Pacific Islanders and some Europeans, have maintained a peaceful culture. We also only have very few Muslims, and they have caused little trouble so far. The native gangs do not have the violent culture found in the US, but sadly rap music has infiltrated and this can only lead to future problems. There is more interest in our history, and most of the historical grievances created by the 19th century Maori Wars have been redressed by large payments to tribes which now operate on a commercial basis. That’s how you get peace.

    • Nothing to learn. I live in Cook County,Illinois. Which has more inhabitants than all of NZ. AND 150000 are GANG MEMBERS. We cant afford to get touchy feely…

  23. I was born in NZ and the police have been using this same argument all my life as to why they won’t arm officers.

  24. I’m curious as to what situation it would be advantageous (tactically) to have an unarmed patrol officer. Yes, he doesn’t have to worry about someone bashing his head in on the pavement during a fight and taking his gun… but that’s ignoring the fact that guns are not the only thing used to kill people.

Comments are closed.