Rifle was pointed at officer: Police

By Kiri Gillespie, Julia Proverbs

A 20-year-old man has been arrested after a rifle was allegedly pointed at a female police officer in Katikati early yesterday.

The constable had been responding to a report of suspicious activity and was leaving the home of a witness about 2.30am when she spotted a man, police said.

When she stopped to speak to him he dropped the bags he was carrying and allegedly swung a rifle towards her, police said.

The officer called for backup and the armed offenders squad was called out.

"A bag containing a rifle and ammunition was located and a short time later a man who emerged from a nearby address was arrested without incident," police said.

Western Bay of Plenty area commander Inspector Cliff Paxton said such cases needed to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

"The officer in this situation acted entirely appropriately and the result was a swift and successful resolution," Mr Paxton said.

"Staff safety is a constant concern to me. My staff are dedicated and committed to keeping their communities safe and to do so they place themselves in potentially dangerous situations every day."

Neighbours told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday they were alarmed by the incident.

A young couple, who bought their house on Fairview St six years ago, said they had put it on the market three months ago. The woman said her husband worked night shifts and it "freaked her out" being at home alone with their 18-month-old baby.

"We don't like being here," she said. Her husband added: "There's always something happening on the street ... there are always fights on the street."

Another resident, whose house backed on to a park, said people ran through her property to the park.

"You feel you've got to have everything locked down pretty hard."

She had owned the property for four years and was renovating it with a view to selling. "I want to move," she said.

Alana Shaw, a retail executive at Liquor King, said police acted quickly for such a little town.

"Everyone knows the cops quite well and are hoping she will be fine," Miss Shaw said.

Paper Plus Post Shop owner Dennis Jensen said Katikati remained a good community.

"I wouldn't say it's changed that much. I certainly don't feel unsafe," he said.

Hayden Flay, 20, of Waipa, appeared in Tauranga District Court yesterday.

Flay entered no plea to charges of burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, using a firearm against a law enforcement officer and unlawful taking of a vehicle.

Flay was remanded in custody to appear in court on Tuesday.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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