POLICE Magazine

FEB 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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36 P O L I C E F E B R UA R Y 2 019 T he best defensive tactics for countering knife attacks has been a topic of much debate, with hundreds of techniques and opinions on the matter. Based on research regarding how spontaneous knife attacks typically un- fold, my agency conducted an instructional experiment within a controlled training environment to better understand the natural response officers have when suddenly attacked by knife. My theory was that by applying ba- sic principles of fighting, officers could increase their chances of success and survivability. lieve the attack was a series of punches until they realize they have been seri- ously injured. According to an analysis of over 150 knife attacks caught on film completed by Urban Fit and Fearless (https://www. urbanfitandfearless.com/2016/09/self- defence-against-k nife-at tack s.ht m l), the offender usually leads the attack with their non-knife hand about 71% of the time. Once the attack has been initiated, about 80% of offenders latch onto the target to control distance and mitigate escape. In the instance that the target can make a back- ward escape, half the time they ended up falling, and were not successful with launching a counterattack before the offend- er landed a stab. ese compo- nents of the fight and how often they occur seem to be conclu- sive with most footage and re- search on this topic. ATTACK SCENARIO As a defensive tactics instruc- tor, I have placed students in many types of vulnerable posi- tions and asked them what they would do if the suspect sponta- neously pulled a deadly weapon on them. e overwhelming re- sponse is, "I'd just shoot them." Officers are then shown why this is not an acceptable answer with a multitude of hands-on scenarios. To test how officers would instinc- tively react to a spontaneous knife attack, my agency conducted a simu- lation during an in-service defensive PHOTO: GET T Y IMAGES SPONTANEOUS KNIFE ATTACKS BY APPLYING BASIC PRINCIPLES OF FIGHTING, YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF SUCCESSFULLY COUNTERING AND SURVIVING A SUDDEN EDGED WEAPON ASSAULT. H DAVID GRIFFITH THE WINNING EDGE e reality of knife attacks and even knife attacks against law enforcement is that most occur when the attacker executes a violent burst of repetitive stabs from various angles. e attacker conceals the weapon and waits until the officer is distracted or vulnerable. ey then launch an abrupt and violent attack on the officer, leaving them caught off guard and with little time to react. By then it is too late, and the target of the attack finds they have been stabbed numerous times before they attempt to take action. Often they be- With most knife attacks, the assailant waits until the officer is distracted or vulnerable and then quickly executes a violent burst of repetitive stabs, leaving the officer with little time to react.

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