Improving police responses to ‘mass shooting’ incidents

Impact: Public policy Impact, Social Impact

Impact summary

How police respond to active armed offenders (AAO) during mass shootings is a significant community safety issue. In 2014 the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) identified that their existing ‘contain and negotiate’ response policy was not appropriate for AAO incidents.

The NSWPF then approached Charles Sturt University Psychology researchers Associate Professor Gene Hodgins and Professor Anthony Saliba to conduct an international literature review, to identify worlds-best-practice and provide the NSWPF with evidence-based recommendations for how police should respond to ‘active shooter’ incidents. The final report was provided to the NSWPF in December 2014 .

The recommendations included implementing police rapid response training, and the use of appropriate firearms and protective equipment. The NSWPF adopted the recommendations in 2015. Over 10,000 officers have since been trained in the new AAO tactics. Other jurisdictions have also utilised the recommendations.

The research substantially influenced NSWPF training procedures, policy and resource allocation, including a significant alteration in firearms policy, at significant expense and procedural change, with state and nationwide implications for the training of police personnel and the safety of the community.
Impact date2014
Category of impactPublic policy Impact, Social Impact
Impact levelBenefit


  • Police
  • Active shooter
  • Mass shooting
  • Terrorism
  • Training
  • Policy
  • Procedure

Countries where impact occurred

  • Australia