Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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No. 1 of 2000 Directions/Other as made
Directions on the use of approved firearms and other approved items of personal defence equipment for the National Marine Unit.
Administered by: Attorney-General's
Registered 24 Jan 2007
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR16-Sep-2002
Tabled Senate16-Sep-2002
Gazetted 02 Aug 2002
Date of repeal 19 Jul 2013
Repealed by Customs and Border Protection (Spent and Redundant Instruments) Repeal Regulation 2013

CEO DIRECTIONS NO. 1 OF 2000

SUBSECTION 189A(2) OF THE CUSTOMS ACT 1901

COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

I, JOHN HARLAND JEFFERY, under subsection 189A(2) of the Customs Act 1901 give the following directions relating to the deployment of approved firearms and other approved items of personal defence equipment.

These directions only apply to those authorised arms issuing officers, and officers authorised to carry arms who from time to time hold, occupy or perform duties in the National Marine Unit.

1.       An authorised arms issuing officer may only issue approved firearms and approved items of personal defence equipment to officers authorised to carry arms (“officers”) who hold a valid permit issued by an Australian Federal Police (“AFP”) Operational Safety Trainer in respect of that firearm or item (see note 1).

2.       All approved firearms and approved items of personal defence equipment onboard a Customs vessel are the responsibility of the authorised arms issuing officer.  The authorised arms issuing officer is responsible for their security and safety.  No personal weapons are to be carried or stored on board Customs vessels.

3.       When the authorised arms issuing officer issues an approved firearm or approved item of personal defence equipment to an officer:

(a)   the officer must sign for the firearm or item; and

(b)   the authorised arms issuing officer must record to which officer the firearm or item has been issued.  This information shall be recorded on the form known as the Operational Safety Equipment Record of Issue and Return Form (form NMU 02).

4.       Each firearm shall be recorded by its serial number and each item shall be recorded by its serial number if it has one.

5.       An Officer is responsible for the security of approved firearms and personal defence equipment issued to him or her at all times.

6.       Approved firearms and approved items of personal defence equipment must be deployed and used in accordance with the “Australian Customs Service - National Policy on ‘Use of Force’” (see note 2).

7.       Before an approved firearm is recalled the officer who was issued the firearm or given the firearm after it was issued must:

(a)   check the firearm for serviceability and cleanliness; and

(b)   clean the firearm.

8.       When the approved firearm or approved item of personal defence equipment is recalled the receiving officer must:

(a)   examine the firearm or item for serviceability;

(b)   complete a safety check of the firearm or item;

(c)   report any damage to the firearm or item; and

(d)   record the receipt of the firearm or item on the Operational Safety Equipment Record of Issue and Return Form (form NMU 02).

9.       Approved firearms and approved items of personal defence equipment shall be stored in the armoury or defensive equipment locker on board the Customs vessel.  Any failures to store approved firearms or approved items of personal defence equipment in the armoury or defensive equipment locker must be reported to the authorised arms issuing officer of the Customs vessel.

10.     In all cases where an Officer uses force, he or she must submit a Customs Use of Force Report (form NMU05), setting out full details of the force used and circumstances in which force was applied.  This includes any of the following situations:

(a)   use of an approved firearm;

(b)   use of an extendable baton against a person;

(c)   use of oleoresin capsicum spray against another person;

(d)   any use of a compliance or restraint hold, strike, kick or other operational defensive tactic against another person;

(e)    use of  handcuffs or simular restraint against another person;

(f)    use of a firearm, extendable baton or oleoresin capsicum spray on an animal.

This report must be submitted to the Marine Superintendent, National Marine Unit, as soon as practicable following the use of force.  The Marine Superintendent, National Marine Unit must advise the CEO as soon as possible after receiving the report.

These directions take effect on and from gazettal.

Dated: 2 August 2002

 

 

John Harland Jeffery

Acting Chief Executive Officer of Customs


Note 1

Management of Use of Force Permits

AFP Operational Safety Trainers conduct separate assessments for each officer in the use of approved firearms and approved personal defensive equipment.  However competency in the use of force will be finally determined by utilising an integrated approach to assessment identified in AFP assessment activity four. 

All assessment activities will be subject to recognised current competency assessment processes and must be completed within a sixty-day period. 

Any initial use of force training program or use of force re-certification program undertaken by an officer will be valid for a period of one year, from the date of the certification or re-certification.

A permit will be deemed to have expired one year after it was issued.

The AFP Commissioner, AFP Deputy Commissioner, CEO of Customs and the National Marine Unit Superintendent may revoke a permit at any time.

An officer who has been served with:

(a)    an interim domestic violence protection order;

(b)    a domestic violence protection order;

(c)    a restraining order; or

(d)    any court order relating to the possession of an official firearm

must immediately report the fact to his or her supervisor and surrender his or her qualification

A permit is automatically revoked if an officer is:

(a)    suspended from duty;

(b)    considered by his or her commanding officer unfit to hold or use approved firearms or approved personal defensive equipment;

(c)    on unpaid leave for, or in excess of, 60 days;

(d)    on paid leave for, or in excess of, 60 days

(e)    has been served with:

(i)                  an interim domestic violence protection order;

(ii)                a domestic violence protection order;

(iii)               a restraining order; or

(iv)              any court order relating to the possession of an official firearm.

Where an officer undertakes re-assessment for a particular approved firearm or approved item of personal defence equipment or re-certification program the previously issued qualification shall be deemed to have expired at the time he or she undertakes the assessment program.

The AFP Operational Safety Trainers may issue a qualification in respect of an approved firearm of approved item of personal defence equipment to an officer if the officer has met the appropriate training and assessment criteria.  The permit will display:

(a)   the classification of the relevant approved firearm or approved item of personal defence equipment;

(b)   the name of the officer

(c)   the date of issue

(d)   the signature of the appropriate AFP Operational Safety Trainer; and

(e)   the expiry date.

Note 2

Australian Customs Service – National Policy on ‘Use of Force’

Customs conflict management strategies are based around a commitment to the ethic of minimum necessary force.  In pursuit of this commitment, principles of negotiation and conflict de-escalation are emphasised, with physical force being used only when circumstances dictate its necessity, and then only to the minimum extent necessary to effect self defence, defence of others, arrest or apprehension.  The use of lethal force is an option of last resort, only to be used when unavoidable in order to protect life.

Customs officers in the National Marine Unit (NMU) are provided with specific equipment, including firearms, for their personal protection, and for the protection of other people who may be faced with an immediate threat of violence. A consequence of law enforcement is the proposition that, from time to time, NMU officers may be required to exercise reasonable force in the discharge of their duty to enforce Commonwealth law.  Reasonable force is defined as force which is necessary and proportionate to the threat or resistance offered.  Reasonable force does not include excessive force such as:

·         Any force when none is necessary;

·         More force than is needed;

·         Any force or level of force continuing after the necessity for it has ended;

·         Knowingly wrongful use(s) of force; or

·         Well-intentioned mistakes that result in undesired use(s) of force.

The law does not afford any general immunity to NMU officers in relation to the use of force and NMU officers must comply with the high level of accountability expected by the Australian Customs Service and the communities we serve in protecting Australia’s borders.

NMU operations, particularly those involving confrontation management, can be dynamic and unpredictable. Customs Operational Safety and General Instructions (OSGIs) provide NMU officers with a guide to response options and accompanying factors to be considered in conflict resolution.  Particular emphasis is attached to the necessity for active and ongoing communication in resolving conflict, the continual re-assessment of situations as they evolve and the need for sensitivity with regard to the persons and issued involved.

The discretionary powers of NMU officers with regard to use of force are reinforced by relevant learning and development programs.

Negotiation is the primary and preferred means of confrontation management and wherever practicable, prior intelligence gathering and evaluation is conducted with a view to reducing the need for later ‘use of force’.