A specialist SA Police Rapid Response section will help build a safer future for South Australians by training and equipping its officers with cutting-edge technology following a Marshall Government commitment of more than $9 million in the 2019-20 State Budget.
The South Australia Police Security Response will deploy highly-visible, specially trained officers across the Adelaide metropolitan area targeting at-risk crowded places and responding to violent incidents, such as a terrorist attack, in support of first responders.
The specialist section has enhanced tactical skills and operational equipment including longarm-weapons such as semi-automatic rifles.
To provide an enhanced operational capability, members will receive advanced training in some tactics traditionally only provided to Special Tasks and Rescue Group (STAR) operatives.
The section will also consist of bomb appraisal officers who will undertake a rapid initial assessment of suspect IEDs and tactical flight officers to enhance situational awareness for responders on the ground in open area events and crowded places.
Drone capacity will be also enhanced to support front line operations.
The new officers will form a second-tier response, able to support both first responders and STAR Operations to better manage violent incidents.
Minister for Police Corey Wingard said the new section will help build a safer, more secure, state for all South Australians.
“It is vitally important for SAPOL to be able to react quickly and decisively to any terrorism threat and this new overall Rapid Response capability will be able to do just that,” Minister Wingard said.
“We promised to South Australians we would build them a safer state and this funding is delivering on this pledge.”
The new section does not replace either STAR Operations members or first responders.
The officers will also be trained and equipped to respond to active armed offender events along with other violent incidents in support of frontline police.
A key objective is to reduce the risk of injury to the community, police and offenders through the use of tactical options not available to frontline officers.
The Marshall Government will provide $2.6 million in 2019-20, $2.4 million in 2020-21, and $2.2 million per annum from 2021-22 towards this security.
This new section will enhance the overall state rapid response capability and complement the Marshall Government’s new ‘Fixated Threat” team to further boost state’s defences against extremist activity and other violent incidents.
More than $3 million will be allocated over the next four years to establish the Fixated Threat expert team of SA Health specialist mental health workers, including a psychiatrist and a psychologist.
The team will work with SAPOL to mitigate the threat of mass casualty terrorism by providing advice and accompanying police when assessing potential extremists.