Guest host Brendan Telfer speaks with Superintendent Jill Rogers about Ihumātao. He begins the interview by asking why it was necessary to send extra police to the site last night.
She answers, over the last couple of days we have seen quite a change in some of the behaviours of those that were gathering, last night in response to information that we received directly from the protest group that it was their intention to reclaim land from which they have been evicted and removed.
Brendan asks if at that point would it not be important to improve communication between the groups.
Jill says they have had “an open dialogue with the group from the beginning” and that “the protest must be done lawfully and peacefully.”
Our role there is just to keep the peace
Telfer then references his interview with Auckland councillor Efeso Collins who attests that the protesters have remained nothing but peaceful, even with the police presence there they remained calm and that there were no arrests.
He then asks the Superintendent in that case do they think they may have sent too many police?
“Absolutely not, our staff were subjected to face to face confrontation of extremely aggressive nature.”
She continues to describe that “our line was forced, hence we had to continually seek additional support to come in.”
For a while there, this was far from peaceful.
On the subject of there being no arrest made Rogers makes it clear that her “responsibility is to make sure that everyone there is safe, it was simply unsafe to do so.”
This is a nightmare of a site to be policing.
She reiterated, “for us to make arrests last night was simply unsafe”, which prompts
Telfer to ask if there were more police there might she have pursued arrests?
Jill answers that there may still be arrests to follow from that night “but right now the focus is on maintaining safety.
You can listen to the full interview above.