Northern Territory police youth engagement officers have been ordered to carry their guns and capsicum spray when they visit school classrooms and playgrounds, according to the NT News.
Aside from angering parents and teachers, the paper said the directive breached NT Department of Education policy. However, the department is yet to say whether it could contest the order.
Parap Primary School parent and school council president Pippa Rudd told the paper youth engagement officers helped to educate kids about things like cyber safety.
"The (youth engagement officers) come on to our grounds, they play sport with the kids, they stand on the crossings," she said. "They're not going to be able to take their gun belt off and participate in school sports days."
The NT police said in a statement that the officers needed to be fully equipped in order to be able to respond to any incidents. The statement said the officers "not only work on school grounds, but also engage with youth in a number of capacities, including patrolling transit areas, conducting traffic duties, patrolling shopping precincts and attending a range of incidents"
The statement said police commanders recently decided all frontline police officers, including youth engagement police officers, should be "equipped and available to respond to all incidents as required".