At the end of June a contract killing occurred somewhere around Baranitsy, Zakarpattia, the alleged offender being a Russian with links to Moldova who was believed to be hiding out in Odessa.
Contract killings here are not exactly unheard of, normally business or politics related (as the two are often inseparable) but they are also certainly no longer the norm either. They have become extremely rare incidents thankfully.
Anyway, I shall spare you the details of the Baranitsy incident and fast forward to a few days ago when the Odessa traffic police stopped a car containing the alleged offender and two others. The net result was two Odessa policemen dead, four injured as well as one injured suspect that was shot, who left the scene with the other two.
Yesterday, the Odessa police caught up with these men hiding in the centre of Odessa.
Now undoubtedly these men had already proved to be armed and dangerous having killed two policemen and injured four others, not to mention the killing in Baranitsy by at least one of them. Needless to say, the police response was going to be robust when they were found.
The outcome of the video link above is that two suspects will not be troubling the Ukrainian court system with a trial. The third, I am not certain about his fate at the time of posting.
The loss of any life has to be regretted however I am not going to pretend the outcome would have been any different given the recent history and actions of the suspects. It is highly unlikely they would have “come quietly”. The police were quite right to go directly to the top of the threat assessment model and anticipate armed resistance.
In case you are wondering, the UK uses a threat assessment that runs along the lines of CS gas, baton/Asp and then firearms in situations were force over and above man-handling is deemed necessary. (In effect, choke them (with CS gas), stroke them (baton) and ultimately smoke them (shoot)). Of course there is no requirement to work up the risk assessment model in the UK, police can jump in at whatever level they feel appropriate in the circumstances.
There are though some rules in relation to firearms officer and negotiators.
To stick with the basics, never fire from or at a moving vehicle as the ricochet from a windscreen may hit innocent Mrs Smith down the road. Fully automatic weapons are an absolute no-no as there is an unnecessary element of risk that comes with the lack of aimed shots and collateral damage to Mrs Smith once again.
Rolling containment until a fixed containment can be effected. In this case in Odessa, the suspects had barricaded themselves in a building and were thus static.
2 shots (double tap) at distances of 15 meters of closer, single aimed shots at 15 meters or more.
Feature off the building white, black,green and red. (White always being designated as the front, even if in fact it is not technically the front of any structure.) White 1.1 being a bay window on the left of the door. 1.2 being the door, 1.3 being a window to the right of the door etc. Next floor is 2.1 etc.
“Light on white 1.1″ over the radio lets everybody know a light has come on in the bay window on the white side for armed officers and the command post who cannot see white 1.1. You get the picture. Its not rocket science, its not a secret but is standard and tried and tested practice that is effective. In the meantime, some poor (trained) soul gets lumbered with being the negotiator with those inside. (The negotiators course is actually an excellent course it must be said.)
What has all this irrelevant UK protocol got to do with the Odessa incident? The answer is Mrs Smith and collateral damage when considering the video in the link.
Fully automatic Kalashnikov’s being fired from roof tops into the street below? Lobbing grenades? That is a military solution aimed at winning fire-fights, converting bullets to brass and keeping heads down whilst you cunningly move your people to a position of advantage, regardless of Mrs Smith and collateral damage.
Now there as yet, have been no reports of bystander Mrs Smith or others suffering as a result of the tactics employed yesterday in Odessa and now it is unlikely any will come to light. No doubt there were cordons keeping the public out and the suspects in.
If fire was returned there are probably bullet holes in windows and ceilings in the apartment block upon who’s roof the police in the video were stood. Minor cosmetics I will grant you, particularly if no rounds went ricocheting off in bizarre directions unexpectedly during the execution of this incident by the planners. The end result was seemingly satisfactory as far as Mrs Smith/collateral damage is concerned and an anticipated if not ideal outcome as far as the suspects arrived at.
Nevertheless, risk assessment? Fully automatic Kalashnikov fire from the roofs of apartment buildings, which looking at the video can hardly be classed as coming close to aimed shots with minimal risk of collateral damage? Wouldn’t it be good to see the debrief notes as to why that happened? There is after all, a reason why snipers are routinely put on roof-tops and not a Terminator wannabe.