‘Knife equals bad gun’, say Northern Territories Police | Western magazine

The belief that ‘a knife equals a gun’ when confronting officers with an armed offender has been branded a misconception by Northern Territory Police.

An NT police bulletin says the phrase may have originated from previous training, but it has since been used “incorrectly, misrepresented or misinterpreted”.

The ‘knife is a gun’ creed was also part of Constable Zachary Rolfe’s defense at his trial in February when he was acquitted of murder after shooting and killing Indigenous teenager Kumanjayi Walker, who was armed of scissors.

“This program is being aired to address a misconception or misconception identified among some members that a knife is equivalent to a gun in all circumstances when members face a physical threat to themselves or others. during their operational duties,” the bulletin read.

He says that “operational training does not use this term because it does not really resemble” an officer’s situational awareness, tactical options available and decision-making when confronted with a weapon, including a sharp weapon”.

Instead, officers facing any weapon should “consider the principles of threat, time, distance and cover,” the bulletin said.

“Adherence to these taught principles and increased situational awareness in dynamic, unpredictable, and sometimes dangerous environments will provide members with the optimal response to maintain everyone’s safety and the ability to make a more informed decision when it comes to the use of strength.”

Lethal force should only be used as a last resort to protect life when an officer is faced with a life or death situation, he says.

Northern Territories Police are also reminded that the success of any operation will be judged primarily by the extent to which the use of force is avoided or minimized.

The use of the phrase during Const Rolfe’s trial prompted clarification, the bulletin said.

During the trial, Const Rolfe’s solicitor, David Edwardson QC, told the jury that police training required Rolfe to draw his pistol and “incapacitate” when threatened by someone with a gun. blade.

“He had been stabbed and his partner was locked in a fight with an armed assailant with a predisposition to violence,” he said in February.

“He was groomed, trained and trained as a member of the NT Police, which edged weapon is equivalent to a firearm.

“In other words, when an officer is confronted with a knife, the appropriate response is to draw your weapon and be ready to use it.”

Detective Sergeant Andrew Barram reviewed video from the camera carried by Const Rolfe after Mr Walker was killed by three bullets in 2019 while resisting arrest in Yuendumu, 290km northwest from Alice Springs.

He told the Supreme Court the second and third shots were unreasonable because Const Rolfe fired them after Mr Walker fell to the ground with another officer on top of him.

The former officer in charge of the Northern Territories Police Operational Security Section also said Const Rolfe’s first shot was justified “because he was confronted at close range with a knife and stabbed with “.

“It is reasonable to believe that his partner was also in danger.”

In response to questions about the bulletin, NT Police said it was “an internal issue relating to internal operating procedures and training”.

Australian Associated Press

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