Specialist Response Group

SRG Vision

"To provide dynamic specialist policing capabilities that are professional and flexible in support of AFP domestic and international operations"

Formation of the Specialist Response Group

The AFP Specialist Response Group (SRG) commenced operations on 1 July 2012 through the amalgamation of two policing elements within the AFP — the Specialist Response and Security Team (SRS) from ACT Policing and the International Deployment Group's Operational Response Group (ORG). The SRS was established in 2002 to address the specialist needs of the ACT. The ORG, established in 2005, has worked to fulfil the national and international specialist operational requirements of the AFP.

The SRG was formed as a result of recommendations from two separate internal reviews (Leahy and Beale Reviews), to consider a more efficient and effective operational model for the delivery of specialist policing services for the AFP.

The formation of the SRG provides the AFP and ACT Policing, with a centrally managed, one-stop-shop for mutually supportive specialist policing capabilities, including a coordination point for associated part-time capabilities across the AFP.

On 1 July 2015, the AFP National Canine Program and the Air Security Officer Program joined the Specialist Response Group.

Role

The SRG is the AFP's highly trained operationally skilled specialist policing capability.

The SRG provides the AFP with a professional, flexible and dynamic capability across three distinct operational areas. This includes assisting ACT Policing within the community, national support of the AFP's responsibilities and international support with capacity building missions and regional stability operations.

The unique skills and flexibility of the SRG enables the AFP to maximise its response to diverse operations by tailoring deployments to meet a range of operational requirements.

Operations

The SRG’s operational element is responsible for providing tactical solutions to medium, significant, high and critical risk incidents in support of AFP operations. These operations are conducted either through planned deliberate actions or as an emergency response to a developing incident. Operational capability includes maintaining the responsibility for the Police Tactical Group (PTG) capability for the AFP as required by the Australian New Zealand National Counter Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC).

Specialist Response

The SRG Specialist Response element includes teams that provide specialist capability in support of other SRG operations or to provide a specific specialist AFP capability.

Search and Rescue Disaster Response - provides Search and Rescue capabilities and expertise in support of AFP operations in the ACT, domestically and internationally. SARDR members are not only required to undergo training enabling practical application of specific skills, but are also expected to provide a highly professional and effective lead role in the coordination and management of search and rescue incidents.

AFP National Canine Program - aims to ensure Australia's national and aviation security is supported by highly trained detection dogs and handlers.  The AFP maintains Firearms and Explosives Detection Dogs, Currency and Drug Detection Dogs and General Purpose Dogs.   Detection dog teams provide a highly mobile and effective screening capability. They provide support to AFP operations over a variety of search areas including premises, terminals, baggage, aircraft, vehicles and freight, and present a highly visible deterrence factor. General Purpose Dogs are used in support of AFP operations and broadly in ACT Policing.

Police Negotiation Team - aims to achieve a peaceful resolution to a situation without loss of life, injury to any person or damage to property. The team supports SRG operations including meeting ACT Policing and national operational needs, counter-terrorism responses and assisting the Australian Government in responding to international incidents where negotiator skills are required.

Bomb Response Team - responds to a range of specialist tasks including counter terrorism and explosive recovery operations. Services provided include bomb appraisal, recovery of unexploded ordnances, search capacity for major events and response to explosions.

Maritime Team - provides specialist water and dive capabilities in support of AFP national and international operations. This includes evidence search, body search and recovery, tactical maritime and search and rescue. Maritime are equipped to provide swift water rescue, tactical boarding and proactive patrolling in support of ACT Policing and the broader AFP.

Operational Readiness

Command, Coordination and Planning - undertakes command control and communication, manages incoming referrals, provides governance and business compliance and assists Major Incident Rooms and Forward Command Posts. This team includes the maintenance of a Deployable HQ Command element independently or in support of other AFP operations.

Extended Capabilities Team - is responsible for developing and maintaining the specialist capability provided by SRG. This team provides national coordination of part-time and embedded specialist capabilities, such as the regional Specialist Support Teams, ACT Policing Operational Support Group, Negotiator cohort and the Public Order Management capability for the AFP.

Logistics - provides specialist logistical support and assistance to enable SRG the ability to deploy locally, nationally and internationally. This includes close liaison with ADF air and sea lift capability and the capacity to forward deploy in support of the tactical element.

Air Support Team - comprised of aviation specialists who operate aviation based equipment including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in support of SRG operations. The team also delivers airborne skills maintenance training across SRG teams.

Communications Response Team - provides tactical field communications to all SRG teams and provides a deployable specialist communications capability in support of AFP operations.

Tactical Intelligence Unit - engages in the collection, collation, analysis and dissemination of intelligence in support of SRG operations. The team produces tactical, operational and strategic intelligence product in accordance with SRG intelligence collection priorities.

Air Security Officer

Air Security Officers (ASOs) are armed Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers responsible for the containment or resolution of high-risk security incidents on domestic and international flights.

These specially trained AFP officers provide an intelligence-led deterrence and containment capability on selected Australian domestic and international flights. Their role is to safeguard Australian registered aircraft against in-flight attack. ASOs travel on selected Australian domestic and international flights.

ASOs blend in with other passengers and could be on any flight. They are deployed in response to current threat assessments and form part of the AFP's ongoing deterrence strategy.

Officers are trained and equipped to provide response to threat of hijack/attempt by terrorists or other criminals to take control of an aircraft. ASOs are extensively trained in many disciplines including negotiation, defensive tactics, specialist firearm handling and small team techniques.

The AFP's ASO Program maintains close ties with its foreign counterparts and the airline industry to ensure international best practice.