What to do in an Active Shooter or Armed Offender Incident

Australia’s current National Terrorism Threat Level sits at PROBABLE which indicates individuals or groups have developed both an intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia.

Current threat assessments reaffirm the trend towards low-capability attacks conducted by lone actors or small groups which present a significant challenge for security and law-enforcement agencies, such as WA Police. These attacks are aimed at people rather than infrastructure and against relatively soft targets and they can occur with little or no planning, or intelligence forewarning.

While the term ‘extremist’ is very topical at this time, particularly in the media, it’s important to realise not all active shooter/armed offender incidents are motivated by extremism or perpetrated by religious or ideologically-focused individuals. An active shooter incident can also include an individual with a serious fixation and/or a serious mental health issue or it could be motivated by hatred, revenge or criminal intent.

The term ‘active shooter’ makes a direct reference to the use of a firearm or firearms, but an incident may also involve any weapon type such as bladed weapons, explosive devices and any improvised object capable of inflicting serious injury or death, including motor vehicles.

Recent attacks highlight the majority of active shooter incidents occur at places that are considered soft targets and places of mass gatherings such as public transport hubs, sporting arenas, entertainment precincts, schools and shopping malls.

The main objective of WA Police officers when responding to an active shooter/armed offender incident is to save lives and prevent further loss of life or injuries. WA Police officers must reduce or suppress the threat posed by the active shooter/armed offender as quickly as possible. Traditional cordon, contain and negotiate strategies are unlikely to be effective in reducing the time an offender has to achieve their desired outcomes, or limit their freedom of movement.

If any person finds themselves involved in an active shooter incident, the best and recommended advice offered by WA Police is to call Triple Zero (000) and Run, Hide or Take Action. Watch the short video below.