Police boost gun training

KATIE KENNY
Last updated 13:14 17/02/2014

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More police will be trained to use firearms and Tasers from July this year.

After feedback from police as part of a revamp of the training structure, about 700 additional staff would be trained at Level 1, meaning they would attend "high risk" situations armed with Tasers or firearms, the police said today.

In March last year, the concept of three levels of training was introduced to police integrated tactical training (PITT) - that is training received by all deployable staff.

Assistant Commissioner operations Mike Rusbatch said staff trained at Level 1 would attend "higher risk situations" which might require Tasers or firearms, while Level 2 responders would receive Glock pistol training, and Level 3 would be available for lower risk cases.

"All of our staff, regardless of responder level, will receive core tactical training in essential techniques, including defensive tactics, handcuffs, pepper spray and baton, which are effective in resolving the vast majority of incidents we attend," Rusbatch said.

"These additional enhancements are in keeping with our focus in ensuring staff safety on the job and meeting our Prevention First objectives."

Communication would remain the preferred and primary method of defusing situations, he said.

The changes will be introduced from July 1.

There would be no increase in the numbers of firearms or Tasers within the force, or change to any current policy, a police spokesman told Fairfax Media.

"We're not routinely armed. It relates to the training our staff get, and the number of people who are qualified to use those things."

- About 5700 of police's 8100 district staff will receive training in the M4 rifle, Glock pistol and Taser as Level 1 responders, an increase from the original estimate of 5000 staff.

- About 2100 district staff will be Level 2 responders, receiving training in the Glock pistol.

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