The latest official crime statistics confirm the pattern that frontline police have seen emerging over the past few years. Economically motivated, high-volume crime is trending downwards, but serious violence is becoming more prevalent.
Part of that is due to greater willingness to report domestic violence.
But it's also a measure of the greater extremes of violence that some members of our community are prepared to go to with little thought given to the consequences.
More and more often, police find themselves confronted by offenders in the midst of violent rampages fuelled by P, alcohol, and, as it has been suggested in the Christchurch case that led to the sad death of Stephen Bellingham, party pills.
Police officers don't go out looking for opportunities to be assaulted. They are called by members of the public who are frightened, intimidated or already the victims of dangerous, violent offenders.
Police don't have the option of avoiding these situations. It is their job to respond and deal with the problem.
Increasing numbers of people are now willing to "have a go" at officers called to deal with volatile situations. Increasingly, wooden planks, axes and knives are taking the place of fists, spitting and swearing.
New Zealand police do not routinely carry firearms. That's the way most of the public and police themselves want to stay, because it generally makes for more relaxed interaction on a day-to-day basis. There's less separation - apart from the uniform, police officers are "just like you and me".
But that's not always a good thing. Police are different from other people, because in the course of protecting the public they are required to use coercive powers of arrest and detention. And more and more often, we are finding that the authority conveyed by a blue uniform just isn't enough to get the dirty and dangerous part of the job done safely.
New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world where we still expect police to defuse situations by reasoning with violent, irrational offenders, often supercharged on drugs and alcohol and oblivious to everything but their own destructive impulses. It's like trying to sweet-talk a ticking bomb.
When words fail, officers now have few choices. It's very difficult, even for two officers, to safely stop an aggressive, drugged-up armed offender with batons and pepper spray.
Waiting for dog teams or armed offenders squads is not always an option. An incident has the potential to turn from routine arrest into serious assault in the blink of an eye.
Real threats to the lives of police and public can materialise in an instant, and officers are forced to react just as fast.
Without an effective less-than-lethal option such as the Taser available on the frontline, officers are forced to decide in a split second whether to use a firearm, or put their own lives at risk by grappling with an offender intent on attacking them with a weapon.
Remember, despite the ill-informed commentary of some armchair critics, no one has ever been shot by New Zealand police for breaking windows or damaging property.
People have been shot when police called to deal with their rampages have been turned on with weapons, and faced with an imminent threat to their own lives.
It is stating the obvious that, had those officers been armed with Tasers, the incidents could have been resolved safely for all involved, and the offenders would almost certainly still be alive today. Arguments mounted by opponents of the Taser are extraordinarily weak.
They point to the possibility of the device being misused and also claim that the device kills.
In fact, it has never been shown to be the cause of death on any of the occasions overseas (most involving older model, higher-powered devices) where somebody has died within a period of time after being Tasered. There is no doubt, however, that bullets kill.
Taser opponents may prefer the near certainty of death by shooting. Police don't.
No officer goes to work expecting to have to kill somebody, and come home with that traumatic event hanging over them and their family for the rest of their lives.
It's time to give police another option.
The arguments mounted by Taser opponents don't impress me.
When they are prepared to get out of their armchairs, don a blue uniform and spend Friday night in downtown Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch running between street brawls and domestic assaults, keeping the peace armed with nothing but their own wit and intellect, then I'll be impressed.
* Greg O'Connor is the president of the Police Association