Editorial: Tip-off reliability a tricky one

By Andrew Austin

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Establishing just how reliable a tip-off is must be a tough task for our police officers.

Do they dismiss the intelligence as suspect and risk a threat to public safety or do they go on high alert when it may be a false alarm?

This would have been the dilemma facing Napier police on Wednesday when they locked down Faraday St after reports that a large cache of AK-47 rifles had been spotted at a house on the street.

Napier residents could be forgiven for thinking they were facing another Napier siege when police set up a roadblock that prevented locals from entering or leaving the street between 3.25pm and 5.30pm.

In the end it turned out to be nothing more than a stash of AK-47 replicas. Police have decided not to take any further action, but they must have been expecting the worst because the Armed Offenders Squad also attended the incident.

Police say they were notified by a member of the public who said the weapons had been seen at the house.

It is a tricky question because I am sure police get a lot of information given to them that leads to nothing. However, Detective Sergeant Nic Clere of the Napier CIB said: "It's fantastic that we got a call about it. If anyone is unsure about the status of firearms it's always better that they call us."

And I suppose that is all that matters. As long as the call is not malicious or a personal vendetta, it is good that people feel able to call police when they suspect trouble.

While we don't want our police officers running around chasing false leads, it is better to be safe than sorry.

The police are there to protect and serve us, so we should trust them to do that.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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