There has been a great deal of discussion about the standard of firearms training that the NZ Police receive.
Their union has called for improvements. They have been banned from civilian ranges for unsafe practices. Their own ranges have been closed for repair due to bullets seemingly flying everywhere but towards the targets.
The have shot themselves, each other, handcuffed suspects and civilians.
Handling weapons in the time up to and possibly including a gunfight is a big ask of anyone.
So do our cops get the support that they deserve?
What Goes Into Their Training
New Police receive 81 hours of firearm training. This takes many from a ‘city kid’ who has never touched a gun – to a potential gun fighter.
Police only shoot 300 rounds before being qualified to use the Glock under the most stressful conditions unimaginable.
Then only 43 rounds a year to keep these skills honed.
(Unless the first magazine of 17 rounds goes well – then the Blog have been told that the remaining rounds go to another officer who needs them more!)
Police only shoot 250 rounds before being qualified to use the M4 rifle under the most stressful conditions unimaginable.
Then only 49 rounds a year to keep these skills honed.
We say ‘Unimaginable’ because many of the extreme situations faced by Police are exactly that. They require sophisticated and complex problem solving. Officers should not also have to struggle to remember where the safety catch on a Glock is.
There seems to have been a change of emphasis to using digital training over hands on weapons training. The Kiwi Gun Blog are of the belief that the former has great value – only as an ADDITION to rigorous practical drills.
A police officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Herald that he felt he wasn’t adequately trained.
“We only train live-fire shooting once every 12 months, it’s not enough at all. The main one for me is firearms, the training we do is bullshit because it’s all role-playing”.
Here is another concern….
We know that Police have had their batons taken off them and suffered terrible assaults from them. Likewise the old long torches. Likewise their own guns. So what retention training do they receive?
What stops them from being the victim of their own weapon? Before it is then turned on other responding Police or civilians?
According the FBI statistics over 5.1% of American cops feloniously killed in the ten years 2002-2011 were killed with their own guns.
In the 1980s and before, the figure was closer to 20%.
That improvement came with better training and the widespread use of high-security holsters.
According to our Official Information Act request – Police are given one hour of weapon retention training. With old school holsters.
From 1st July 2017 – the yearly live fire training package will also have a 30 minute refresher as a regular component.
“Prior to 1st July, it has not been officially in the training for several years”. Superintendent ‘Lurch’ Scahill.
That was last week.
So for many, many officers – their only retention training consists of a thirty minute reminder of the training they never received.
This is simply not good enough.
Senior Constable Peter Morris Umbers was bashed with his own PR24 baton when he stopped Richard Lakich, a robbery suspect. He died as a result.
A significant component to a great cop is their emotional well-being. Yet we get constant reports of front line officers feeling overwhelmed. 55.6 per cent of our cops feel that the level of work-related stress they experienced in their jobs was unacceptable.
“According to available records, no New Zealand Police officer has committed suicide using a Police issue weapon” Superintendent ‘Lurch’ Scahill.
Is this more the result of luck than considered policy?
Our cops deserve better and so to the civilians they protect.
Only The Police Should Have Guns….
Just a final thought….
The next time that you are getting ready for a competition – lay out 250 rounds.
Now imagine that you have never touched a gun before.
Then shoot them off.
That is a little over EIGHT magazines.
Now ask yourself who you would want responding to an armed offender near your kid’s school.
A kiwi Police officer just out of college? Or YOU.