National

No training failure in Vic shooting: union

By AAP Newswire

Victoria's police union boss has backed the actions of two officers who shot a knife-wielding man outside a Melbourne shopping centre, arguing there were no training failures.

It has been revealed the roll-out of a new training program to help Victoria Police respond to mental health incidents was halted because of the summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.

It came after two officers shot a 24-year-old man who allegedly yelled at police to kill him at Lilydale Marketplace on Tuesday morning.

The man was taken to hospital but his injuries aren't life-threatening.

"I don't think there's anything I've seen that points to, particularly in yesterday's incident, any failing in training," Victorian Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt told 3AW on Wednesday.

"We're not blaming anyone for the delay in mental health training. That's a feature of COVID-19."

Premier Daniel Andrews said hundreds of critical programs had been put on hold amid the state's second wave, including kids learning to swim.

"No one takes any joy in cancelling those sorts of programs," Mr Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.

"Victoria Police are absolutely committed to that work and they'll get that back online and do that work as soon as they safely can."

Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent indicated the force may recommence the mental health training program in November.

Tuesday's shooting, under internal investigation by the force with oversight from its ethics body, was captured on police body-worn cameras.

It is alleged the officers were backing away when the man charged in their direction, prompting them to fire several shots.

Mr Andrews doesn't believe the public's trust in the force has been eroded by the shooting or the arrest of a bipolar man in Epping, which is now under investigation by the corruption watchdog.

"The Victorian community can be confident that where there's an issue, where there's a need to investigate ... then there's a proper process that's there," he said.

The police union boss is calling for all frontline patrols to be armed with tasers to better manage mental health callouts, rejecting suggestions officers already carry too much equipment.

"It's not insurmountable," Mr Gatt said.

"We have 600 tasers in Victoria Police approximately, that's 30 regional sites and two units in Melbourne, which isn't enough."

Victoria Police's executive will consider a broader roll-out of the non-lethal weapon, Mr Nugent said.