Despite travel restrictions and lockdowns the AFP’s Specialist Operations (SO) Bomb Response Team (BRT) have employed their specialist skill sets, including bomb robots and drones in 2021 to help keep the Canberra community safe.
The bomb robots range in size from 10 kilograms to just under a tonne.
The robots are equipped with cameras and have independently, remote-operated arms to help AFP members analyse items without putting themselves in danger.
Senior Constable Tim Merchant from the BRT said the team was responsible for assessing scenes and appraising suspicious items.
“Safety is at the core of our work, the safety of the public and the first responders on the scene.
“We have a range of tools at our disposal, from drones to robots and other specialty items to help identify suspicious packages.
“Using our bomb robots allows us to get close to these suspicious items and do a thorough analysis without endangering our officers.”
Complementing the team’s bomb robot platforms is a fleet of lightweight drones owned and operated by the BRT.
Senior Constable Tim Merchant said the drones are able to survey the scene and allows bomb technicians to plan the best course of action.
“Using drones helps us get a lay of the land. They help us to identify if there are features, like stairs, or landmarks that would impede a robot from accessing the item. From there we can plan the best course of action.
The AFP’s efforts to protect the public from potential explosive threats extends beyond the ACT with Rapid Appraisal Officers (RAO) at the nine major Australian airports.
“The AFP RAOs respond to unattended and suspicious items at our major airports and protection stations across the country.
“As borders reopen and travel at airports picks up again it’s a timely reminder to not leave items unattended and if you see something suspicious then report it to police or security.”