Constable Perry Griffin. Photo NZ Herald
A police officer attacked by a mob in the coastal Waikato
town of Kawhia on Friday night has expressed his gratitude for
the help he received from locals.
Constable Perry Griffin was knocked to the ground at the
town's wharf as the group allegedly kicked him, took his
Taser and radio and dislodged his sidearm.
Detective Sergeant Steve Hudson of Te Kuiti CIB said Mr
Griffin was recovering from a sore hip as well as bruises and
grazing to his face and arms.
"The officer is grateful for the support show by a number of
people both from within police and the wider community.
However, he has asked that his privacy be respected.
"We have spoken to several witnesses yesterday and today and
the course of events has become clearer and we anticipate
speaking to several more people over the coming days."
Three people appeared in Hamilton District Court yesterday.
Mr Hudson said police wanted to identify another man thought
to have been involved.
"One of the things we have identified as a priority is
identifying a person of interest, described only as a male
wearing a blue top or shirt who was seen to run across the
road to the wharf and knock the officer to the ground early
in the incident.
"We would very much like to speak to anyone able to offer any
further information on this person, on his identity or what
he looked like."
Police Commissioner Peter Marshall said said he had spoken to
Mr Griffin this morning and he was keen to get back to work.
He had also acknowledged the "excellent" help he received
from local firefighters and district council staff.
"We are grateful for their speedy arrival and their help
demonstrates the close cooperation between those in emergency
services roles in rural communities," Mr Marshall said.
Mr Marshall said he did not support an increase in the use of
firearms by police in light of the assault.
"The use of a firearm as the primary weapon in the Kawhia
incident was not appropriate and this was supported by the
Kawhia officer and his supervisors," he said.
"This is not a time for political point-scoring exercises.
Unfortunately risk is part of the policing job and can never
be eliminated, especially when assaults happen without