Specialist Response Group

Specialist Response Group
Active 2012 - Present
Country Australia Australia
Branch Australian Federal Police
Role Law Enforcement, Domestic Counter-Terrorism, Tactical Law Enforcement, Riot control and Search and Rescue
Size 106 full-time tactical/ public order police officers[1] plus support/other positions totalling just under 200[2]
Part of Australian Federal Police
Garrison/HQ Canberra City ACT
Nickname(s) SRG

Pong Su incident,[3] 2003 Canberra bushfires,[4]

1993 Jolimont Centre siege
An AFP Commander

Specialist Response Group (SRG) is a highly trained police unit of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) consisting of a range of teams capable of deploying at short notice in order to undertake a variety of specialist policing tasks. SRG predominantly consist of sworn police officers, based in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT), who are capable of resolving higher risk planned and emergency policing operations; both domestically and internationally.[5] SRG are a police tactical group as defined under the Australian and New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) arrangements. SRG commenced operations in July 2012 as a result of the merging of the Specialist Response and Security Team (SRS) (from ACT Policing) and the Operational Response Group (ORG) from AFP’s International Deployment Group. SRG are now the largest centralised specialist policing capability in Australia, with almost 200 personnel.[6]


AFP has had charge of local ACT Policing since 1979, and a full-time tactical unit, Specialist Response and Security team (SRS), was developed and commenced operations in 2002. Whereas SRS had responsibility for ACT Policing only, it soon became apparent that the wider AFP required tactical operators of their own for both national investigations and International Deployment Group operations. In January 2005, AFP created what was then known as the Operational Response Team (ORT), a small team of specialist tactical police able to respond and assist AFP officers engaged in the International Deployment Groups response to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), Solomon Islands.

The ORT was soon expanded to fulfill further AFP domestic and international operations and included new roles (such as public order), and was renamed the Operational Response Group (ORG) in 2006. As part of the expansion, a forward base was opened in Brisbane, Queensland, and an Aviation Support Unit was opened in Melbourne, Victoria.[7]

AFP conducted reviews (Leahy and Beale reviews) which recommended that SRS and ORG be merged in order to reduce duplication of efforts, and to centralise AFP tactical/specialist resources under a single command in Canberra, in order to improve efficiencies and effectiveness.[8] Both Brisbane and Melbourne ORG offices were re-located to Canberra[7] in preparation for the merger, with the SRG becoming operational in Canberra on 1 July 2012.


SRG provide AFP with highly trained operational specialist teams capable of rapidly deploying either domestically or offshore in order to solve a variety of medium and high risk planned and emergency incidents. It can deploy and provide critical assistance to regional neighbours in times of crisis, and assist with the restoration of law and order, rapid disaster response assistance, and capacity building initiatives.[6]

SRG provide resources to three distinct areas namely:

As SRG are significantly larger than each of its predecessors (SRS and ORG), there is increased flexibility for AFP command to provide greater resources to particular operations or incidents while maintaining other core roles and permanent deployments.[9]

SRG capabilities throughout Australia and overseas include:[10]

SRG provide the only full-time local tactical and public order specialist policing for Australian Capital Territory (i.e. ACT Policing) and SRG can also provide specialist support to other state and territory police jurisdictions when required.

Organisation and structure

Although a sub-unit of AFP’s International Deployment Group, SRG report to a committee consisting of both IDG and ACT Policing executive.[11] Although all SRG operators are sworn police officers, there are a number of unsworn support and training personnel within the organisation who play critical roles.[11]

The primary operational components of SRG are Specialist Response, Tactical Response and Targeted Operations, and they are supported by Specialist Policing Command and Coordination.[8]

Specialist response

Tactical response teams

Targeted operations teams

Specialist policing command and coordination


A variety of domestic (AFP National Operations) and international (Asia-Pacific region) deployments were made by the predecessor organisation, Operational Response Group. SRG still maintains a permanent presence based in Honiara, Solomon Islands as part of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). The other predecessor organisation Specialist Response and Security team undertook a range of operations supporting ACT Policing (community policing), in addition to some national operations and support to RAMSI.

Police medic capability

All SRG operators are required to maintain advanced first aid skills. However, because TR, MR and TO operators often operate in remote and isolated operational environments within Australia and overseas, selected operators are crossed trained as Police Medics.

SRG medic training necessitates successful completion of a variety of course modules including basic and advanced life support, trauma care, emergency medication administration, medical evacuation and extended care in remote and austere environments.[17]


Potential operators must have a minimum of two years contemporary sworn policing experience before undertaking a series of psychological, psychometric and physical fitness testing.[18] Applicants must also complete an integrity assessment, security clearance, panel interview and a medical examination.[19] Once barrier gateways are met, potential members undertake a physically demanding and arduous TR or TO selection course. On successful completion of the relevant selection course and receiving a recommendation, potential operators are then able to commence either the TR or TO basic (operator) course. On successful completion of either the TR or TO basic course, trainees are then admitted into SRG.

Other SRG areas such as BRT and police divers have separate selection, assessment and training courses.


SRG do not publicise information on weapon platforms or other equipment utilised by their operators, but they are known to utilise a wide variety of specialist weapons and munitions. AFP utilise variants of the Glock pistol and are known to utilise Heckler & Koch G36 5.56mm rifle.[20][21]

SRG utilise less lethal (extended range impact and chemical) weapons and munitions[22][23] such as the Bean bag round.[24]

AFP Tactical operators have utilised the Taser conducted energy weapon since 2004,[25] but it is expected that SRG will soon convert from the Taser (X26) to the Taser X2.[25]

SRG utilise an armoured police rescue vehicle (Lenco BearCat) for particular police operations.[26]

In undertaking bomb tasks, SRG’s BRT utilise a number of robotic platforms, an explosives containment chamber and two types of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) suits.[27]

See also


  1. "Senate Estimates: Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee | Lee Rhiannon". Lee-rhiannon.greensmps.org.au. 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  2. Christopher Knaus (2012-07-05). "ACT Policing launches elite tactical unit". Canberratimes.com.au. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  3. http://www.afp.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/131119/10_Timeline.pdf
  4. http://www.afp.gov.au/media_releases/act/2003/the_srs_is_here!.html
  5. 1 2 "5 July 2012 - AFP launches its new Specialist Response Group". Ministerhomeaffairs.gov.au. 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  6. 1 2 "Elite police super group". Canberratimes.com.au. 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Australian Federal Police". Afp.gov.au. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  8. "ACT Policing Annual Report 2011/12". Police.act.gov.au. pp. 18–19.
  9. "Media Release: AFP launches the new Specialist Response Group - Australian Federal Police". Afp.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  10. 1 2 Citation required
  11. "Canine capability - Australian Federal Police". Afp.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  12. "Bomb response explodes in potential". Afp.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
  13. "ACT Annual Report 2011/12". Police.act.gov.au. p. 138.
  14. "Articles - Australian Police Journal | Australian Police Journal". Apjl.com.au. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  15. "AFP Annual Report 2010". Afp.gov.au. p. 99.
  16. "Courses for the Policing sector". Fulcrum TRG. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  17. "Specialist Response Group - Australian Federal Police". Afp.gov.au. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  18. https://web.archive.org/web/20120322062644/http://www.afp.gov.au/jobs/minimum-requirements/employment-suitability.aspx. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. "AusTender: Contract Notice View - CN53453". Tenders.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  20. "Weapons of Modern Warfare - G36C / MG36". YouTube. 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  21. "AusTender: Contract Notice View - CN123170". Tenders.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  22. "Blue Line: AFP actions on Christmas Island". afp.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
  23. "Lateline - 15/03/2011: Beanbag bullets fired on Christmas Island rioters". Abc.net.au. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  24. 1 2 http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/publications/~/media/afp/pdf/p/platypus111.ashx
  25. "Canberra gets a beast! Behold the Lenco Engineering Armoured Rescue Vehicle.". The RiotACT. 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  26. "Major equipment used by the SRG Bomb Response Team". Afp.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
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