Last week I spent time up in the middle of the North Island while hooning about the countryside and it so happened that I randomly bumped into a couple of NZ Police staff who are actively involved in the Police Firearms scene.
One was an officer who was heavily involved in the firearms buyback and another who is a current Police Firearms Trainer. The first chap, whose rank I didn’t ascertain, was happy to pass on his thoughts about how the buyback was going.
His first comment was about how much they were spending, being way more than expected. He was under absolutely no illusion as to the fact that there was going to be a massive overspend.
Of interest was all the ways that he said people were scamming the system, with weapons being brought into the country from Australia and particularly from China, with many of them being declared as ‘airsoft’ weapons. These firearms are actually cheap AR-style knockoffs which are then immediately being ‘handed in’ for a quick profit. Perhaps there will be a register for airsoft too?
I mentioned to him that I was aware of rumours of firearms being broken up into parts for a better return and he said, “yep, we’re onto that”. He also mentioned that there were a lot of Army folk who were handing in their allocations of Steyr magazines!
Then onto the Firearms Trainer. He was a bit of a revelation. To be honest I was dumbstruck at the state of the current post Training College training and assessment. When I was a cop we used to do training once a year, heading out to a local farm for live firing. Even then it wasn’t about training, merely being assessed and cleared to carry at work and there was almost no reactive work at all.
The freedom seed we used were known as frangible rounds meaning they turned to dust upon impact. They were also light rounds having only about 50% of the magical fire dust of a standard round (to keep it cheap), so there was very little kickback, and as ear protection was required, firing these things was quite a long way from reality with sirens, real bullets, unmuffled loud bangs etc.
Back then I thought that the ‘training’ was rubbish, but at least we got to put a few rounds down the barrel and we shot Glocks from about 25 metres away and the rifles way out to 100 metres.
My new friend, however, advises me that there is virtually no post-college training at all, and the assessment is only ten rounds through the Glock from just ten metres out, closing up to only five metres for the last few shots.
The assessment for the M4 Bushmaster rifles is even easier with only ten rounds starting at thirty metres finishing up at just fifteen metres!
Various firing positions are used; standing, kneeling, etc but the majority of these shots are carefully aimed with few instant action and stoppage drills also assessed.
But, worse than this, the cops only have to be on target with eight out of the ten rounds! So if you can connect with 16 rounds at virtually point-blank range and can un-jam a blocked weapon, you’re good to go. They should literally be able to get 16 out of 20 at those distances with their eyes closed!
But according to a recent statement from one of our esteemed ministers, our Police are “Highly trained”.
Well here’s a video showing some of the recruit training they undergo. This stuff in itself isn’t world-leading best practice, but it’s not too bad. However look at some of the skills shown in it, and the confidence of some of the recruits, and let me know if you think that we are ready for a fully armed Police force! It isn’t the fault of the trainers either; to a man they are all in it for the right reasons, but they sure do despair at what they are forced to deal with.
So yeah, nah. Sorry Minister but that’s not highly trained, that’s BARELY trained. These guys and girls don’t even need to hold a firearms licence when using Police weapons in the course of the job. And yet they expect us to have faith in them?
Maybe when they stop shooting themselves in the bum, letting rounds off in classrooms and shooting at their own cars we may have a little more confidence in their ability to run the firearms licensing in NZ.
Remember the bulletproof dog anyone? Was it 13 shots and they all missed? I’m not sure things are going to get any better soon.