Abandoned homes for explosives training
Police will use abandoned residential red-zone properties for exercises using explosives and firearms.
Burwood residents are being warned they may hear gunfire and explosions this week as officers conduct a series of training exercises in the red zone.
Police said today they would hold training exercises in properties in Burwood and the central city for short periods tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.
The exercises are part of an introductory training course on "explosive breaching" and would involve the use of light explosives in realistic training scenarios.
The abandoned properties are owned by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera).
Tactical commander Inspector Steve Mather said police were aware of the potential impact on residents.
"We have worked with Cera to identify suitable locations and we believe there are very few occupied houses in the vicinity,'' he said.
''As we want to avoid causing any concern among residents, we are going door to door in the neighbourhood to speak to any residents who remain in the area.
"We are also placing public notices about the exercises, getting publicity out through the news media and blanketing the area for several streets around the location with a letterbox drop advising residents about the training."
Residents in the Queensbury St area in Burwood may hear gunshots or pyrotechnic explosions.
Mather said the noise level would be relatively low.
"It's probably no louder than being close to a public fireworks display or a car backfiring. The exercises will be simulating the use of firearms and small explosives to gain entry into premises."
Using abandoned houses provided an opportunity for police staff to test their skills, he said.
"It's important that we conduct these exercises in 'real-world' environments that officers may encounter when dealing with incidents and crime scenes," Mather said.
Police expect to conduct exercises at noon and 6pm tomorrow, between noon and 5pm on Saturday and between 11am and 5pm on Sunday.
Explosives would be used on Saturday and Sunday, and residents might hear up to four short bursts of explosives over the course of each afternoon.
The training group would also conduct exercises in the abandoned Canterbury Brewery building, in the central city, on Saturday.
Mather said the use of an industrial location would give the participants "experience in working in a different type of environment".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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