Police and the Aviation Security Service are teaming up to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 lockdown and provide community reassurance about safety and law enforcement.
At least 270 Avsec officers are working alongside Police for reassurance patrols at supermarkets and to carry out compliance checks at quarantine and isolation centres in some hotels.
“We are incredibly appreciative of the support Avsec is providing to Police as part of a coordinated all-of-Government response to COVID-19,” says Police Minister Stuart Nash.
“The officers help ensure that only essential businesses are open and that people who are outside their home are observing the rules around physical distancing and only going out for essential services.
“All Avsec officers are experienced uniformed security officers. They are used to face-to-face interactions with the public and explaining and enforcing the law. Their powers are more limited than those of sworn Police officers, but they can be called on to assist constables if required.
“Staying home saves lives. The support from Avsec will free up uniformed Police officers to focus on other core frontline duties, such as crime prevention, enforcement and prosecution.
“We are stronger when we work together. Police are in ongoing discussions with other agencies like Customs and Immigration, who are also prepared to step up to assist with law enforcement. The Defence Force remains on standby too.”
Transport Minister Phil Twyford says, “The Avsec teams are drawn from airports in Dunedin, Queenstown, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. The officers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will join Police to also visit hotels where people are being held in quarantine and isolation.
“Avsec and Police already work well together at airports and I am proud of the support these officers are providing during this global pandemic.
“The safety of all Police and Avsec staff is a priority. Avsec officers will not be deployed in situations that may put their safety at risk. Before they are deployed they take part in a special induction programme complemented by on-site and pre-deployment briefings. They also have access to Personal Protective Equipment when needed.
“Law enforcement and border control authorities are very focused on stamping out the virus to protect the health of the country, which will in turn protect the health of businesses and workers’ jobs.”