Northland's top cop says the region stands to do "very well" out of the announced $45m investment into police frontline safety.
Superintendent Tony Hill said police numbers would be bolstered; and the safety of staff, communities and offenders would increase with the specialised training.
The developments are off the back of last week's announcement by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster that police are to set to scale up firearms training and will create a new tactical response team.
The proposed model means more than 200 additional police officers will be qualified at the armed offender squad standard. Currently there are 300 members of the Armed Offender Squad.
Current tactical training to frontline staff will also be doubled from 3.5 to 7.5 days per year.
They will be rostered on to double-crew dog handler teams and bolster planned operations to arrest high-risk offenders and combat organised crime.
The new initiative comes as frontline police officers are increasingly facing threats of violence against them, prompting growing safety concerns.
Gun Safe data revealed Northland and Bay of Plenty police were shot at the most, with both having faced five shootings involving at least one firearm discharge since March 1, 2019.
Northland police attended 16 shootings between members of the public – the third lowest number, tied with Waikato, of all 12 police districts. Manukau recorded the most with 62.
The dangers the region's police force faced were also evident in the number of people appearing in court on finalised charges for violent offending involving a firearm.
In 2019, 24 people appeared in Tai Tokerau courts, while in 2020 this dropped to 17. During those two years, 20 people were convicted of violent offending related to a firearm.
Hill said the funding announcement was "exciting" as the staff concerns around safety were been acted upon.
"The thing that keeps me awake most is dreading the call in the middle of the night to say someone has been hurt on the frontline," he said
"But now our teams will be safer and our communities will be safer."
Hill made it clear that the changes did not constitute an arming of Northland's police.
"We didn't want to be armed, as we're community-orientated – we can go to schools and sit in people's lounges."
A quasi-militant approach would change that, he said.
Hill said the investment would see more police - with the increased training and enhanced skills, and many from Northland communities - come north to create a "greater capability" over a "greater area".
Fewer officers would have to travel long distances across Northland alone to respond to incidents, he said.
Hill welcomed the adjustment that will see dog handlers operate in pairs as opposed to alone.
"When the dogs are out there tracking someone, the handlers are completely focused on their dog – they're not looking around to see if there are any other threats," he said.
"You're concerned for their welfare."
But now handlers can stay tuned into their dogs, while a second canine unit provides protection for the team tracking.
Arnie, a police dog, was shot in the jaw during an armed stand-off at Tangowahine last December.
Arnie eventually recovered, but could not continue as a police dog and has instead joined Northland's Search and Rescue team.
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Northland is home to the first recorded death of an officer killed by a criminal act, 131 years ago.
Constable Neil McLeod died in Dargaville on July 30, 1890, when fellow boat passenger Henry Funcke was kicked off the ship at Mangawhare Wharf after a rifle was taken from him.
In a fit of rage, Funcke pulled out a hidden pistol and fired at the departing ship, striking Constable McLeod, who was on board travelling to Auckland with his family.
Funcke was later acquitted on the grounds of insanity.