South Australia Police has launched its new Security Response Section that will see specially trained officers deployed to major events and crowded places across metropolitan Adelaide.
The new Rapid Response team has the capacity to prevent and respond to terrorism-related incidents and domestic events of a violent nature.
The Marshall Government committed $9 million over four years for the implementation of the SRS to ensure a greater level of public safety at vulnerable and at-risk locations like Adelaide Oval, the Adelaide Railway Station, Central Market and Rundle Mall.
Officers within the SRS will wear ballistic vests and carry rifles meaning they’ll be distinguishable from general duties officers.
They will also carry a pistol, taser, pepper spray, baton, helmet and radio.
Minister for Police Corey Wingard said the Marshall Government has delivered on an election promise to strengthen our counter terrorism capabilities and build a safer South Australia.
“If you see these officers out and about from the July 1, feel free to approach them as they’ll be happy to engage with you and talk you through their role and responsibility,” Minister Wingard said.
“The armed officers will look different to our other police officers but we don’t want the general public to be frightened.
“We know that in recent months, mass gatherings and large scale events have been far from front of mind, but as life continues to return to normal, we need to make sure we’re capable of responding to any risks.
“Extremists throughout the world are increasingly seeking to inspire like-minded individuals to their repugnant way of thinking and South Australia is not immune to that.
“There is no place in our State for extreme behaviour and while these officers will be equipped to respond to any threats, their presence at major events will also act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of trying something on.”
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the presence of SRS will be routine at crowded places, it will not be an indicator that there is a specific danger or threat.
“People should not be concerned if they see these officers,” Commissioner Stevens said.
“SRS is an extra layer of protection for South Australians at large events and where large crowds gather. They will be on the ground, ready and equipped to act swiftly and expertly should a critical incident occur.
The SRS section consists of 48 officers who have successfully completed intensive training in tactics traditionally only provided by Special Tasks and Rescue Group (STAR) operatives.
The SRS will also consist of bomb appraisal officers who will undertake a rapid initial assessment of suspected improvised explosive devices and tactical flight officers who will enhance situational awareness for responders on the ground at open area events and crowded places.