Nothing is more important to Police than the safety of our people and our communities across New Zealand.
We cannot succeed in our vision to make New Zealand the safest country unless we are doing everything we can to keep our staff and communities safe, and do that in a style of policing that New Zealanders expect and deserve.
Over the past year, there has been a great deal of work undertaken by Police’s Frontline Safety Improvement Programme that listened to more than 1250 staff around their concerns and ideas to improve staff safety. We have engaged with Māori, Pacific and Ethnic community leaders, and taken on board feedback from those who shared their thoughts on Armed Response Teams.
This engagement has informed the development of a new tactical response model. This model is designed around enhancing frontline training; improving frontline access to specialist capability, and strengthening risk-based deployment and technology.
Our changing operational environment
Our frontline officers operate in a dynamic and unpredictable environment and are often called to put themselves in harm’s way to keep the public safe. Increasingly, they face threats from those willing to use violence against police, and others.
In recent years we have responded to terror attacks, the increasingly sophisticated nature of organised crime, gang-violence, the availability of illegal firearms, and devastatingly – the death of our own Constable Matthew Hunt, who was murdered while undertaking routine policing duties.
The model has three key components: enhancing frontline training; improving frontline access to specialist capability, and strengthening risk-based deployment and technology.
Enhanced frontline training
We are doubling our annual tactical training for frontline staff, starting with our Public Safety Teams and Road Policing. This additional training will be modelled on the Frontline Skills Enhancement Course and will provide four days of scenario-based training focusing on appropriate tactical response and de-escalation.
Improving frontline access to specialist capability
Our staff told us they felt safer when they had specialist staff on duty who they could call on for assistance to help resolve critical situations safely. So, secondly, we are increasing the number of staff with Advanced Tactical Training (meaning Armed Offender Squad qualified) to roster them on-shift across two areas:
- As new positions to enable dog units to operate as a two-person dog team. This will increase the day-to-day safety of handlers who often respond to high-risk incidents alone. As a team they can provide additional specialist tactical support for frontline staff in responding to critical events.
- And as members of Tactical Prevention Teams, which will be part of existing investigative units that are primarily focused on planned operations to apprehend priority and high-risk offenders and combat organised crime. These specialist teams will also be available to support frontline staff if called on to respond urgently to high-risk incidents.
These staff will wear standard police uniforms and drive standard police vehicles. They will not be generally armed but will have immediate access to tactical options including firearms if the situation requires it.
Risk-based deployment and technology
To support our deployment model we will boost our intelligence capability, so we can deploy staff more safely with increased awareness of the environment and identified threats and priority offenders.
This will enhance the safety of our staff, ensuring they have access to the best information available to support decision making and risk assessments.
How it will look
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