Tactical Response Model improves police safety



But the public will not discern the difference

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster at the media conference on March 29, 2023 (RNZ Photo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venkat Raman
Auckland, April 7, 2023

Crime prevention took another step forward on March 29, 2023 as the New Zealand Police began rolling out its Tactical Response Model (TRM) following intensive internal, governmental and public discussions which began two years ago.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster announced at a media conference in Wellington that the TRM is a ‘complete safety system,’ created to ensure that the frontline staff of the Police are trained equipped and supported to keep themselves and communities safer.

The need for a critical response such as the TRM has been felt for some time but accelerated after the murder of 28-year-old Constable Matthew Hunt in a shooting incident on June 19, 2020 on Reynella Drive in Massey, West Auckland. Since then, the need to improve the safety of our Police Officers has been a subject of public discussion.

Extensive discussions

However, Commissioner Coster said that the Police will remain an unarmed service and that the TRM was created after consultations with the Maori, Pacifica, Ethnic and other community leaders through 570 community engagement sessions.

“As well as 570 community engagement sessions including the External Reference Groups of the Police, we conducted 85 workshops involving more than 1250 staff drawing upon their experiences and ideas to improve the safety of the Police. Proactive engagement with staff continued through Proof-of-Concept trials and a formal evaluation of the model including two staff safety surveys which attracted more than 2000 responses each,” Mr Coster said.

The government had initially allocated $15.5 million to develop the Model in September 2021, with an additional $62.7 million invested last year to trial the scheme in four Police Districts, including Auckland Central, Counties Manukau, Northland and Waikato.

It is understood that the cost of rolling out TRM to eight other Districts will be $122.5 million.

Police Minister Ginny Andersen told the media that the TRM staff would not generally be armed.

“They will not be on community patrol like the former Armed Response Teams. They will wear the same uniforms and drive the same cars as other officers,” she said.

Police Officers with an Armed Response Team Vehicle during the trial in 2020 (RNZ Photo by Liu Che)

The rollout details

Following the approval of the Cabinet to release funds, the TRM will be rolled out to each Police District depending on the level of readiness reached.

The Rollout will includes enhanced tactical capability with Offender Prevention Teams and two-person Tactical Dog Teams coming on board, ongoing tactical training for the Frontline in District, and risk-based intelligence-led deployment, Commissioner Coster said.

“A formal evaluation of our trial of the model in Northland, Counties Manukau, Waikato and Central showed that it worked and that each component produced safety benefits, but the greatest impact happened when it operated as a complete safety system.  Trial Districts experienced fewer assaults against and injuries to frontline staff, fewer incidents requiring the use of force and fewer complaints about the use of tactical options,” he said.

Commissioner Coster said that the results of the trial, ongoing engagement with staff,  partner agencies and community leaders, and the release of funds by the Cabinet have given Police the confidence to go ahead with a national rollout.

“We will continue to engage with our partners, communities and people,” he said.

Commissioner Coster has since long said that every Police Officer has the right to return home safe after work, like any other New Zealander.

“We operate in a fast-moving dynamic environment and we want our people to be safe and feel safe every day they come to work. That means having the right tools, training, and support to do their job safely and effectively,” he said.

The Police established the Frontline Safety Improvement Programme (FSIP) in 2020 in response to the murder of Constable Hunt and against the background of an increasingly challenging operational policing environment.

Its focus is to keep our frontline safe as they undertake the daily challenges of delivering policing services across the country.

The improvements coming out of the programme are the result of ongoing staff feedback and community engagement, Commissioner Coster said.

About the Tactical Response Model

The TRM  has been designed to increase frontline capability through three integrated components (1) Training: The tactical training of frontline staff will increase from 3.5 to 7.5 days every year (2) Deployment: This will include Tactical Intelligence, Tasking and Coordination and District Command Centre activities (3) Tactical Capability: Specialist capability will be more accessible to frontline staff through two new teams, namely prevention focused Offender Prevention Teams and Tactical Dog Teams that operate as part of the frontline and as first responders.

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