Police Commissioner vouches for better training over arming police

The AM Show 23/09/2021

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has told The AM Show this morning that he is confident that spending money on new training and tactical teams is what is needed to better protect front-line police officers, without resorting to arming them.

A $45 million package has been announced to better train officers designed to make them feel more confident out in the field without firearms.

Though a majority of officers have stated they would like to have access to firearms, Coster has said that is not the way forward.

"We've looked very carefully at the routine arming issue - it's really natural to imagine that when you're on the wrong end of a firearm, to want to be armed yourself. The evidence we have seen tells us that it's inconclusive as to whether it would make our people safer, and it would almost certainly lead to more deaths," he said.

The training is instead, supposed to prepare officers for multiple dangerous or difficult scenarios.

"The training isn't actually just focused on how to use guns. It's how to approach situations safely, so we're doubling front-line training and it will be based on our Front-line Skills Enhancement Course, much more scenario-based, equipping people for the kinds of situations they will face. Our officers are saying that when they've done that, they're feeling much more safer about how they go about their jobs," Coster said.

When facing criticism that those in the top positions of the police force are out of touch with modern day front-line police work, Coster responded "All of us on executive have come through front-line policing - I've been an Armed Offenders Squad member, an Armed Offenders Squad commander - if I thought being routinely armed would make our people and our community safer, I would be advocating for it, but I'm very clearly of the view that it will not. 

"I understand the perspectives of those front-line officers who understandably feel scared, but the reception of this model by the front-line has been very positive, and I'm confident it will make a big difference."

There are those hypothesising that this training program is merely a stepping stone to arming police further down the line. What do you think?

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