Hundreds of documents briefing new Government ministers on key policies have been released. Herald journalists have been analysing the Briefings to Incoming Ministers (Bims). Here we look at the Police.

In the Labour-led Government's first 100 days in power police are keen to address firearms legislation and policy with their new minister.

And the organisation will seek the minister's views on a range of other issues affecting the frontline including gangs and family harm, fleeing drivers and road policing.

At midday government agencies released briefings to incoming ministers that set out the state of their business as well as historic, current and upcoming issues.



In the briefing for Police Minister Stuart Nash, Commissioner Mike Bush said he was "ready to discuss your key priorities, what you want to achieve in your tenure and how we can support you to deliver our Government's law and order coalition priorities".

Firearms were a "key legislation and policy matter" that the minister needed to address.

Bush said he would be addressed on policy options for his consideration as soon as possible.

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Briefings to incoming ministers: The highlights

"As the Minister of Police, you're responsible for the Arms Act 1983 and we're responsible for administering and enforcing it," Bush said.

"The act is overdue for amendment.

"The courts have identified gaps and the need for clarification of drafting."

Police Commissioner Mike Bush says the Arms Act 1983 needs urgent reviewing. Picture/Mark Mitchell
Police Commissioner Mike Bush says the Arms Act 1983 needs urgent reviewing. Picture/Mark Mitchell

Bush said the previous government "signalled its intention to deal with these issues" through two pieces of legislation - the Arms Amendment Bill and an Arms (Firearms Prohibition Orders and Firearms Licences) Amendment Bill.

"Criminal activity, combined with changing technology and marketing, have highlighted additional gaps in the legislation which, when exploited, have safety implications," Bush said.

"These gaps also present administrative challenges and we have to rely on the overall purpose of the act to inform our decisions in the absence of explicit legislation.

"The previous Minister of Police agreed to introduce firearms prohibition orders (FPOs) for a small group of the most serous and violent offenders.

"Should you wish to continue with FPOs, this could be progressed through a standalone amendment to the Arms Act 1983 or as part of a more comprehensive Arms Amendment Bill."

Other priorities Bush encouraged the Minister to focus on were:

• striving towards adding 1800 new police officers over three years, with a strong focus on combating organised crime and drugs

• investigating a volunteer rural constabulary programme

"We are also ready to discuss how we can support you to deliver on the Government's broader Community Safety policy objectives, including continuing to improve family violence services and reducing the prison population by 30 per cent," Bush said in the briefing.

"In recent years we have transformed our business by firmly embedding our Prevention First operating strategy and significantly modernised our service delivery through technology.

"We are continuously improving, by using an evidence-based approach, to targeting and arresting offenders; and preventing crime and victimisation, as the policing context evolves.

"As you'll see in this briefing, demand for our services is increasing and the nature of crime is changing.

"The modern environment requires a workforce that is flexible, and in some cases, more specialised than we have traditionally needed.

"Our response requires specialist investigators for organised, financial and cyber-related crime, and for domestic violence, in addition to new recruits."

Bush said during the minister's first 100 days in the role there were a number of "scheduled decisions" he had to make.

Police will brief the minister on "operational priority areas", including organised crime, family harm and youth.

He will also be briefed on cross-agency work to reduce methamphetamine in New Zealand.

"Your advice will be sought on the future direction of this work," Bush said.

Offender identity management was another issue the minister would be asked to give a view on.

A police-led cross-agency plan was actioned after murderer and sex offender Phillip Smith managed to flee New Zealand to South America using his birth name while on temporary release from prison.

"You will receive a briefing on how agencies are improving information-sharing systems in response to the escape of Phillip Smith," Bush said.

"The briefing will seek your views on the future direction of this work."

His views would also be sought on gangs, the proposed multi-agency co-response service for mental health - led by police and road policing, among other administrative issues like the police property portfolio and employment negotiations.