CHCH Mosque attack: Muslim community doesn't want to play 'blame game' with police despite gun license admin failure

The AM Show 30/11/2020

This article was written by Newshub's Mark Quinlivan

Police should have picked up on the Christchurch mosque terrorist using people he met online as gun license referees, but the Muslim community doesn't want to play the "blame game", the Federation of Islamic Associations (FIANZ) says.

An exclusive story by Newshub on Sunday revealed an embargoed report into the Christchurch mosque shooting found failings by police - the terrorist was given a gun license despite not having appropriate referees.

But Abdur Razzaq, the chairperson of the FIANZ report, insists individual police officers aren't at fault for the failings.

"We are not in the blame game," he told The AM Show on Monday. "We wanted to look at what actually happened and we found there were significant structural dysfunctions - we want to put it that way.

On one hand, every single policeman that I know of was deeply affected by what happened so it was nothing at the individual level - it was a structural [policing] level.

Police gun license forms show one referee must be a spouse, partner, or next-of-kin who normally resides with or is a relation, and the other must be a person who is unrelated, over 20 years old, and knows them well.

When the terrorist got his license, police had "deprioritised" checks, the report showed. Razzaq said the report found significant cuts to funding.

"That was in the year from 2017 to 2018 - this actually impacted on what happened.

There were cases when it should have been picked up - there were all those sorts of areas where police failed to [specifically] follow their own policies.

Razzaq believes the terrorist should have never been able to get a gun license.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is remaining tight-lipped on the report but told The AM Show she will review it after the Royal Commission has reported its findings.

She said the Government put "a lot of resources" into the inquiry.

"It was independent but we, of course, funded the Royal Commission to do this work.

After everyone's had a chance to wade through what is an 800-page report, that would be a chance for us to discuss what may have been found around the issuing of gun licensing.

The AM Show approached police for an interview but was declined. Police said it would be inappropriate to comment on specific details before the Royal Commission report is made public.

This article was written by Newshub's Mark Quinlivan