The idiocy of Australian police 

The idiocy of Australian police

Reported yesterday on the local news.


Police gun drill blasted
By Rosemary Odgers, David Murray and Michael Madigan
July 7, 2003

POLICE target practice will be reviewed after it was revealed they were using pictures of real people for anti-terrorist training.

Special emergency response team officers have been using 28 real-life images in target training, including two pictures of Aborigines and four of women.

The photos included staff from the Queensland Police Service and mugshots of criminals.

Police Minister Tony McGrady said the use of the images was unacceptable and called for an immediate review.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson apologised to anyone identified in the photos but said the pictures had helped in the training of 40 SERT officers.

Mr Atkinson said the photos were selected to show different physical characteristics to enable an officer to identify with real-life hostage or terrorist situations.

"In such circumstances, an officer may have only a matter of seconds to accurately identify the hostage-taker and facial characteristics including skin colour are vital in this process," Mr Atkinson said.

"We will investigate ways to provide the necessary level of identification and marksman training in future without any possibility of causing embarrassment or hurt to any individual."

Indigenous leaders and civil libertarians said they were outraged at the practice.

ATSIC commissioner Robbie Williams said it was a "disgraceful" treatment of Aboriginal images.

Mr Williams said many Aborigines were on police photograph files for non-violent crimes such as taking part in street protests.

"This is going back to the days of (former premier Sir Joh) Bjelke-Petersen," he said.

"We've tried to come through the racist years and get somewhere but this just shows the present government hasn't changed things."

Civil libertarian Terry O'Gorman said only generic outlines should be used in target practice.

"To use the photographs of suspects when they are arrested as targets for sniper practice particularly when a number are of Aboriginal extraction is appalling," he said.

Queensland Police Union president Gary Wilkinson said police should be able to use whatever means necessary for their counter-terrorism training.

"It is necessary to make the training for hostage situations as life-like as possible in preparation for the day when the inevitable happens," he said.

"I would have thought that all Australians would be pleased to know that everything possible is being done by police to prepare themselves. This is an operational issue and the Police Minister has no business ordering a review of police training methods."

Mr McGrady said police would investigate the possibility of using computer-generated pictures.

"I do not condone the unauthorised use of indigenous or other actual images by police on training targets," he said.

The Courier-Mail


Source of the article.

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