QUEENSLAND Police Union president Ian Leavers has come out in defence of officers who are forced to shoot when faced with a violent offender to protect themselves and the community.
In the latest issue of the Police Journal QPU magazine, Mr Leavers used his president’s page to address the controversial year marred with fatal shootings in volatile situations.
Mr Leavers reiterated the QPU was behind officers and their choices when faced with tough decisions at a moment’s notice.
“As we know as police, we only have a split second to decide on the best use of force option available to us and we must act to preserve our own life, the lives of our colleagues and the lives of victims and community members,” Mr Leavers said.
“At this point, officers rely on the training they have received and the only option available to them is to use a level of force that is appropriate for the threat level.
“It is important to remember that on many occasions things are solved peacefully and with minimal force.” Mr Leavers comments come two months after a man was fatally shot in the chest after he lunged at police while armed in Outlook Dr at Tewantin.
At the time, it was the four fatal shootings in south east Queensland in a matter of months.
At the time police commissioner Ian Stewart reiterated Queensland police was not “trigger happy” however he launched an immediate review of policy, procedures and training for violent confrontations.
Mr Leavers said it was ludicrous to suggest police should fire a warning shot in a violent confrontation and urged members to resist taking public and social media comments to heart.
“We do not have to bear the brunt of every single commentator who might wish to suggest that police are ‘trigger happy’ and who make ludicrous comments that police could have fired a warning shot or shot someone in the hand, which happens in the movies or on television,” Mr Leavers said.
He said only police can “properly understand” what it is like to be face with violent person confronting them with a weapon.
“Our members are trained, dedicated professionals who understand their role in protecting the community and who understand the possible consequences of any failure on their part to take action,” Mr Leavers said.
“Still, it is always easy for the public to criticise police and each situation, yet QPU will continue to be the often lone voice that will defend the actions of police and understand the impact those actions have upon officers who are simply doing their job.”