Critical Incident Response Team
|Critical Incident Response Team|
|Active||2004 - Present|
|Part of||Security Services Division|
The Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) is a police team within the Victoria Police force. CIRT provide a tactical response capability aimed towards high risk situations. CIRT have support capabilities such as less lethal equipment, specialised equipment and tactics as well as a negotiation capability.
In March 2004, CIRT were formed to provide specialist assistance to general duties police with a primary focus on tactical support and negotiation capabilities supported by a greater range of less-than-lethal options, and as a consequence to relieve the Special Operations Group (SOG) tactical group from attending incidents not within their call out criteria.
The concept is similar to the British police Armed response vehicle (ARV) that patrol ready to respond to provide specialist assistance.
Each CIRT team typically deploys with approximately 8-14 members, including a Sergeant or Team Leader, 2 of whom are trained negotiators.
The majority of CIRT deployments are related to mental illness, for example between 2010 and 2011 of the total 685 call outs, 324 of these (47%) were mental illness related, with 29 percent of these mental illness call outs including drug and alcohol use.
The CIRT is part of Security Services Division of the Transit & Public Safety command within Victoria Police, which also includes the Special Operations Group, and has a reported strength of approximately 187 team members .
The CIRT has three intakes each year, requiring applicants to undergo rigorous physical and psychological testing, including aptitude. If accepted into the team, members must remain fit, with various ongoing testing every 4-6 weeks.
Role of the CIRT
- Barricade incidents
- Armed offender incidents
- Violent confrontations
- Suicide interventions
- Cell clearances for violent prisoners
- Suspicious powder/packages – including CBR incidents
- Searches for armed offenders
- Incidents where SOG criteria are met, the CIRT will perform the role to establish and maintain a cordon until the SOG arrive.
The incidents pose a threat to general duties police or are difficult to resolve due to violence or other dangers. Any general duties police supervisor can request assistance from CIRT who rapidly respond if approved by higher ranking CIRT officers. CIRT has specialised training and is equipped with more "less than lethal" options to resolve an incident than general duties police.
An incident may fall within the call out criteria of the Special Operations Group (SOG) such as a hostage incident. However, the SOG require that a high ranking police officer authorise their deployment. In the interim, CIRT can rapidly respond to the incident awaiting the SOG arrival providing cordon and containment. On arrival of the SOG, CIRT can provide assistance to the SOG such as perimeter containment.
CIRT has a Tasked Operations team, who receive further training in Tactical Arrest Options to conduct forced entries for general duties / detectives to execute search warrants on premises or to conduct high risk arrests.
The Critical Incident Response Team continues to offer a variety of other support and specialist services such as:
- Close personal protection
- The provision of trained and qualified police negotiators and equipment
- The provision of security for protected witnesses
- High risk escorts
- The conduct or assistance with covert or overt operations in support of investigations and /or the apprehension of offenders
- Chemical, biological, and/or radiological (CBR) response capabilities and equipment
CIRT provide a 24/7 response Victoria wide.
CIRT officers have a range of specialised equipment and weapons in their inventory ranging from ballistic and tactical vests, helmets, Minuteman ballistic shields, Tasers, bean bag rounds, gas masks, ladders, breaching tools and various oleoresin capsicum (OC) delivery systems.
Officers are armed with Smith & Wesson M&P .40 handguns, Heckler & Koch UMP .40 submachine guns and shotguns to enable them to better cordon and contain firearms incidents, and if necessary, resolve the incident.
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