Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Travelling Gravely

196 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 4 5 6 7 8 Newer→ Last

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    rogerd - Tasers are "less-lethal" force. They have killed in the past and will kill in the future.

    Matthew - none of these weapons are benign.

    " SOPs have been refined "
    As we're talking about deaths, what is this code for - unlawful killing?

    Whatever weapons the police use, the decision should go to the wider public in some form.
    They work for us after all.

    As we've kind of chased our tails on this subject a little.
    Any thoughts on the new model M16s in wider use by the cops?
    I'm in two minds myself.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Any thoughts on the new model M16s in wider use by the cops?
    I'm in two minds myself.

    As am I. Although they aren't strictly speaking M16s (no fully automatic capability) I'm not entirely sure they were a good choice for the police.

    Aside from the pretty abysmal training of police in the use of firearms (according to some firearms instructors the safest place to be when the police are armed is directly in front of them). A calibre that was adopted by the US because it was capable of punching a burst of fire repeatedly through a steel helmet at 600 yards is probably not the best choice for a generally urban police force. Despite arguments around the use of frangible rounds, I think the potential risk to the public is unacceptably high from the combination of poor training/calibre/semi-auto capability.

    The bolt-action Remington model 7 rifles that were the previous rifle of the Police were IMHO quite sufficient, completely aside from their being more reliable and more accurate than the replacement rifle. The new, (more warlike) M4/AR15 may quite possibly have been adopted based on the 'look' rather than the need for a new rifle.

    I'm a bit unsure why shotguns weren't adopted as a first option rather than the M4. Perhaps shotguns weren't sufficiently cool? At the ranges police have tended to deploy rifles, a shot gun would probably have done the job just as well... Having said that, who can understand the workings of government procurement processes? Not I.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 262 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    A S - I totally agree.

    I used M16 to give the picture of what's to come & suspect there has been little (if any) need for semi-automatic rifles over bolt action.

    Prior to Timor, I did have the CO of the Tasmanian Reserve Army say with some exasperation that his soldiers couldn't match Martin Bryant.

    A number of incidents have highlighted the limitations - that dog where the cop emptied a mag & missed or the Skinhead with a deathwish (unfulfilled) in Christchurch (& all rounds unaccounted for).

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    e.g. where a police officer once would have talked someone down, his gung-ho young colleague simply tases someone

    This is certainly a concern, but as much as anything that risk comes from the fact that very few experienced officers exist anymore. It's quite normal to see sergeants, and even senior sergeants, with rectangular rather than circular number badges on their shoulders. Those badges aren't even 10 years old, which gives you some idea of just how little experience even senior non-comms have in our police. Toss in the decreased average stature of our cops, and they've hardly got intimidation-by-presence on their side.

    Shep, if you want to take refining SOPs in the wake of two deaths, such that there have been none since, as "code for - unlawful killing" then you go for your life. I'd say it's exactly the opposite, which was my point. If nobody's died in seven years, after two deaths in roughly two years, that suggests that how it's used has been changed to minimise the risk of fatalities. But you keep on beating that drum if you wish.
    As for the M16s, they're technically M4s.

    AS, amongst considerations were the usability by, shall we say, petite officers. Shotguns are hard on the body. An M4 has what appears to be (from reading online) a pretty effective recoil absorber. The semi-automatic nature of them makes them much better than a bolt-action if you need to fire multiples times in quick succession. The model 7s were proving to be a bit much for smaller officers to handle, and in the evolving climate of weapons use against police it's handy if any officer can effectively use the majority of the firearms available to them.
    I seem to recall something about getting a weapon of the same calibre as the Steyers, to allow for real bulk discounts on ammunition purchases, as an additional consideration. That bang-for-buck concern again. Piggy-backing off the military's purchasing does make good budgetary sense.

    I agree with you about firearms training, btw. Our cops don't get enough practice time to qualify to continue holding a private pistol licence, if that was a requirement for their job, which is just scary. They fire 50 rounds a year in training. At this moment in time, that's probably sufficient given how few shots are fired by the police, but in the future it is likely to prove woefully inadequate.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    A number of incidents have highlighted the limitations - that dog where the cop emptied a mag & missed

    A competition (I think. Was someone who gets a lot more trigger time than our cops, anyway) shooter said that trying to shoot a dog that's not tied up is going to prove extremely tricky, in the wake of that incident and precisely because of people like you saying that it shows our cops are useless shots.

    What's this CHC skinhead shooting?

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Gold - "Shotguns are hard on the body"

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Of the shooter, ya twit.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    That dog 'shooting' was just dangerous.
    If he couldn't hit it why shoot?
    He or others weren't being attacked - if that was the case he would have been able to shoot it.

    About a decade back(?) A stoned skinhead drove to the Central Police Station & started shooting up.
    Cops came out - I think they hit him twice in the leg. No issue with this, he had a gun and was firing.
    The shots from the very new cop were not accounted for, which means he wasn't shooting straight or down. He must have shot up, maybe into Hagley Park & along the cycle route. For all rounds shot, not all have been accounted for, even now.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Matthew,

    I agree that the semi-auto action absorbs recoil, so too does the weight of the rifle. The recoil from a .223 is pretty negligible, in fact it is hard to find a centrefire calibre that has less recoil, so the argument about the model 7's having too much recoil is a bit of a stretch from my perspective. Anything less and they may as well issue .22's.

    On the ammo compatibility point, I find this pretty hard to believe. The army uses NATO specification FMJ rounds (in line with Hague Convention requirements), the Police use hollow point rounds. The ammunition price discount argument doesn't quite make sense to me as they will be purchasing two completely different rounds.

    The recoil from a 12ga isn't that horrendous, and TBH the reduced lethal range of shotgun projectiles cf. the .223 in my view is an adequate trade off against a (potential) slightly sore shoulder for police officers.

    50 rounds a year verges on criminal in my view. If the police are not going to adequately train their staff to use equipment, they should think long and hard about deploying them at all. The average target shooter would put hundreds, if not thousands, of rounds down range annually, because by practicing, they are able to confidently use their firearm, and hit what they are aiming for. This is in the context of shooting at targets, but when people are potentially in the firing line, I'd expect the police to be even better trained than civilian shooters.

    By way of illustration, the decision to shoot at that dog, broke at least three sections of the arms act, and any civilian who made such an idiotic decision would probably be facing a prison sentence. Shooting a moving target in a built up area, with what sounded from the footage like multiple shooters is a recipe for disaster. Those involved should be very thankful they still have jobs and that they managed to avoid shooting each other in their stupidity.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 262 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Ah, that's right. The M4s are .223, not 5.56mm. My bad. Only hazy recollections of the justifications trotted out at the time. And, yes, the different types of round used is a good point. I was sure there was some kind of justification given at the time relating to the weapons the military was using, though.

    So far nobody's been shot with the new rifles, have they? In fact, I don't think anyone's been shot at all since they were brought in. Be interesting to see how they perform under fire, as it were.

    All the police need to be able to do is hit centre mass. They don't need to "hit a squirrel in the left nut", to borrow a phrase from Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, they just have to get rounds into the largest part of a person. One advantage, and it's probably the only one, of their poor training is that they're unlikely to try Hollywood cop stuff. They'll shoot for centre mass and that's the end of it.

    The dog, in hindsight, should've been left for animal control. They have people who hunt available to deal with intransigent animals. I suspect, though, that much like Shep the cops thought that shooting a dog that's in someone's back yard would be quite easy. Turns out it's not.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    No bad on your part. .223 and 5.56x45mm are effectively the same thing. The .223 Remington is just the civilian version of the NATO round.

    You're right, centre mass is definitely the safest bet for them (despite the apparently appalling sight picture of the police issue m4s esp compared to the Model 7's). I was mostly worried about the potential for 'buck fever' to kick in, due to lack of familiarity/experience. The temptation to empty the magazine is a frighteningly easy one to give in to, and there is scope for a whole world of things to go wrong if that happens.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 262 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    To what point do Police take responsibility for their own skill level?
    If you're too fat, go for a run before work, if you can't shoot straight, go to a range one day a month.

    The Piggy back on Army ammo is interesting. How long before Greg O'Connor calls for 50 Cals?

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    To what point do Police take responsibility for their own skill level?
    If you're too fat, go for a run before work, if you can't shoot straight, go to a range one day a month.

    Unless they're on a duty that requires high levels of firearms proficiency, which is limited to AOS, Special Tactics Group, and Diplomatic Protection Squad, their access to range time is very limited. Going for a run doesn't need any special location or tools, it just needs appropriate clothing. For officers outside centres with an AOS presence, there quite likely isn't any kind of range for them to use. I'm not even sure that the AOS officers get all that much "recreational" range time. They refresh more often, but I don't know if they can go to the range when they feel like it. Dunno if DPS officers can either. STG almost certainly can, but that's the nature of their assignment. AOS officers aren't even doing it full-time, it's just an on-call role aside from their key duty.

    Individual officers have very little responsibility for their firearms proficiency. The national standards have been set, and that's all there is to it. They go to Porirua or wherever they're sent to once a year, fire their rounds, qualify, "Well done, see you next year."

    The Piggy back on Army ammo is interesting. How long before Greg O'Connor calls for 50 Cals?

    Given that I wasn't correct on that recollection, maybe never? They're just not practical, anyway, unless you want the cops driving around in Humvees with post-mounted machine guns on the roof? Might do wonders for gang behaviour :P

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    AS, amongst considerations were the usability by, shall we say, petite officers.

    There was a similar consideration in the move from the old handgun - I forget what it was, S & W? - to the Glock. They surveyed all the cops, and a lot found it difficult to draw, heavy kick, and heavy to hold, particularly female cops.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If you're too fat, go for a run before work, if you can't shoot straight, go to a range one day a month.

    Part of the contract of all police officers is that they get one hour a week for maintaining their fitness. It's not a lot, but it's something. There's no such time set aside for shooting for most cops. A lot of cops would go a decade without firing a gun in anger. I guess it's just not a priority, which is a nice thing to be able to say.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Kyle,

    I sincerely hope that cops would never have to fire a weapon in anger. The consequences of that would not be a pleasant thing to contemplate.

    BUT, and it is a big one, when you are messing around with rifles, which have a potential lethal range of up to 2km in extreme (ie. incredibly unfortunate) circumstances, there is a duty of care on the Police to make damn sure their staff are adequately trained in their use, so some poor unfortuate doesn't wind up a statistic if something goes wrong due to poor training/lack of experience.

    Given the potential for harm or death if things go wrong, as far as I can see, training with firearms should be a priority, and if it isn't a priority for police, then with all due respect I'd rather they did not deploy firearms at all because they are a danger to others and to themselves.

    If a lack of officially sanctioned training is an issue, there is no reason that Police officers cannot obtain firearms licenses, and then they are perfectly able to practice as much as they like in their own time. Although this is unlikely to occur (I know of some, but not many police who shoot outside a work environment), and police hq should cough a few grand a year extra for some additonal ammo, it remains an option.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 262 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    police hq should cough a few grand a year extra for some additonal ammo, it remains an option

    It's not the cost of the ammo that's the issue. Once you require police to meet some higher standard, it's part of their contract and therefore you have to provide the environment and the time for them to do it. Even if it was two hours a month for every police officer, it'd cost millions.

    I would guess that it's a cost-benefit situation. There's other areas that they can focus their training on that relate to situations that cops find themselves in every day.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Part of the contract of all police officers is that they get one hour a week for maintaining their fitness. It's not a lot, but it's something.

    That's pathetic! Better than nothing, you're right, but come on. An hour?! I guess I'm just used to the FS model, where PT is part of every shift, be it at the start of a day shift or during the evening on a night shift. Probably helps that they have more "down time" available, and also that it's much easier to go from exercise clothes into bunker gear (which can just be pulled over the top) than to a police uniform in the event that a call comes in.
    Do police stations even have gyms? Before the Fire Service brought in the annual "physical competency assessment" (which is pretty brutal) every station got fitted with a gym.

    There's no such time set aside for shooting for most cops. A lot of cops would go a decade without firing a gun in anger. I guess it's just not a priority, which is a nice thing to be able to say.

    A decade? Most cops in the US go their entire career without ever firing a shot in anger. Some never even have to draw a weapon. I'd put the odds against a kiwi cop having to shoot someone as well into the "fairy story" realms. Many tens-of-thousands to one.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    That's pathetic! Better than nothing, you're right, but come on. An hour?!
    Do police stations even have gyms?

    All decent sized police stations have gyms, but I suspect most of them go jogging. And most cops would do more exercise than that a week, but if we got realistic and said police needed to exercise an hour a day, 5 days a week to maintain good fitness, then you'd be looking at having to increase the uniformed police force by 1000 cops just to cover the shorter work shifts.

    The police PCT is pretty average. I did it when I was 17 and it took me exactly two minutes. Short run, jump over a couple of walls, drag a trailer one way, tyre back the other way, etc. It's designed to catch the cops that are fat and unfit, not ensure that they have some sort of high level of fitness.

    The test to get into the police is a lot more, but by no means difficult for a fit person.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'd put the odds against a kiwi cop having to shoot someone as well into the "fairy story" realms. Many tens-of-thousands to one.

    Well we have less than 10,000 cops, and there certainly are shooting incidents every year, so it's a bit less odds than that.

    Not every time a police officer fires a gun is it at an armed offender. Rural cops occasionally use their weapons on livestock, dogs that are worrying sheep etc.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Kyle, I only got a C+ for my compulsory stage 1 stats paper (two years ago, too) but I'm pretty sure that's not how cumulative odds work. It's more like the number of cops multiplied by the chances of any given officer having had to use a firearm in anger in any given year multiplied by the average number of years of service of all of the police officers serving. And I don't even think that's entirely accurate.

    I could email one of the stats lecturers and ask them, but they've got the better part of 3000 stage 1 stats exams to mark so I won't bother them just now.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 4 5 6 7 8 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.