Victorian police 'unskilled' to deal with violent, fatal confrontations

Canberra, Oct 11 (ANI): An Australian secret police report has exposed failed training methods that have left officers without the skills to defuse violent and potentially fatal confrontations.

According to The Age, the report reveals that Victorian police were not properly taught how to "cordon and contain" an armed and violent person, when to call on specially trained officers for help and how to deal with the mentally ill patients.

The report has criticised the negligence on the part of the "senior management to champion the importance of operational safety training".

In a list of damning findings, it criticises a "training void" that has left some inspectors, senior sergeants and sergeants "abrogating their responsibility" by failing to take charge or "effectively monitor" incidents involving confrontations between police and violent people.

The report was released to the Federation of Community Legal Centres under freedom of information laws.

The report, which Superintendent Mick Williams prepared in July last year, is being used as part of an overhaul of police training in Victoria. It also claimed that before July 2009, "there was far too great an emphasis placed on firearms and other defensive tactics," but by 2009, police training had a "disproportionate focus" on the use of guns, batons and capsicum spray instead of conflict resolution and better communication.

"In effect, there has been over a decade of policing in Victoria where operational police have not been exposed to the fundamentals underpinning police operational safety training," the report says.

"Although most of the research concerning the nature of training has been completed, there are still incomplete matters regarding the appropriateness of staff selection and instructors who train police," it added.

The findings of the report are likely to be examined at several coronial inquests into police shootings, including next week's inquest into the Tyler Cassidy shooting in December 2008, the paper said. (ANI)

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