Australia’s Active-Shooter Lessons From The Paris Attacks

While it is early stages in any investigation, it appears that there was no hostage-taking incident at the Bataclan concert hall Paris on 13 November 2015. It was simply three men actively engaged in killing people in a confined and populated area: an active shooter attack.

The Paris attacks should illustrate to Australian authorities that there are important difference between an active shooter and a hostage taking situation, especially when it comes to appropriate training. Unfortunately, at this stage Australia’s police forces are playing catch-up.

The French Police that stormed the Bataclan concert hall showed the highest levels of bravery: putting their own lives in danger to stop the senseless murder of innocent people. What escaped most people’s observations was the fact that the French police involved were fully trained in active shooter response tactics.

Hostage situations involve threats by persons who have barricaded themselves in a building, or protected area, but are not actively harming anyone: although they may have threatened to do so.

Police responses to hostage taking are all about a measured and delayed response. Police best practice in these incidents involves cordoning an area and containing the hostage taker. Police efforts are then focussed on negotiating with the offender or offenders to prevent violence, achieve the release of prisoners and a resolution that does not result in deaths.

Active shooter situations occur when police officers on the ground believe that the armed individual is actively inflicting injuries or death.

Many active shooters are not targeting specific individuals. The shooter’s aim in these cases is to inflict mass casualties as quickly as possible, which is what we saw in Paris this past weekend.

In active shooter incidents, a delayed police response could have horrific consequences. An officer who uses an active shooter response model will focus on stopping the shooter and reducing the number of deaths.

Read more at Huffington Post.

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