New Zealand is to ban tear gas from public areas as the country grapples with protests over police brutality and racial profiling.
The new policy will come into force from Monday, with a ban to be implemented by the end of next week.
It follows a call by a police watchdog group last week, with over 200 people protesting in Wellington.
Protesters have called for the introduction of “tear gassing zones” to control protests and limit the number of tear gas canisters used in an attempt to curb unrest.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday the government would “ensure our people are safe and protected”.
The decision comes after the release of the video of the police officer who shot and killed a black teenager, Jordan Davis, last year.
A video of Davis’ killing went viral in New York and was widely viewed as an attack on police and the community at large.
“It is clear the police need to be more visible, more engaged, more transparent and more accountable,” Arderns said.
Ardern has been criticized by civil rights groups and has been under pressure from a group of black and minority ethnic (BAME) women who say she is trying to silence them.
She said she hoped the new policy would help police “to show respect to those who are protesting, to show them we care”.
Newly elected Prime Minister Paula Bennett said it was important for the police to be “more transparent, more accountable and more proactive”.
“New Zealanders can now see through a smokescreen of false narratives, and see the real truth,” she said.
The move comes amid mounting criticism over how police in New England, in the United States and Australia have been portrayed in the media.
The New York Police Department said in a statement that “all police officers are trained to maintain the highest professional standards, and we will ensure that they are fully accountable to the communities they serve”.
“We will continue to use the tools at our disposal, and will continue using force only as necessary,” the statement said.