ACT Policing launches elite tactical unit
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ACT Policing launches elite tactical unit

The formation of a new elite policing group was formally announced yesterday, giving the territory better access to federal police resources including the riot squad, bomb response team, and K9 units.

A new tactical police group, named the Specialist Response Group, became active on Sunday, but was formally launched yesterday.

The creation of the group, reported by The Canberra Times in February, will merge ACT Policing's elite tactical unit, Specialist Response and Security, with the Australian Federal Police Operational Response Group.

The group will now be the largest specialist police team of its kind in Australia, with about 200 personnel based in Canberra.

The centralisation of the group in the ACT will give the territory better access to a range of AFP specialist resources for bomb response, K9, tactical operations, water police, divers, air support, tactical intelligence and negotiators.

ACT Policing will maintain a dedicated tactical team of about 58 full-time personnel, who will be regularly rotated with other AFP members. That means officers formerly with the ACT's Specialist Response and Security team would be sent on overseas deployments, while AFP national members from the Operational Response Group would be rotated into community policing for the ACT.

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The new group will also give the ACT a valuable surge capacity, Police Minister Simon Corbell said, which would help deal with larger scale events or incidents.

''This is a very important development for the national capital,'' he said. ''This enhancement of tactical and operational response capability will deliver the level of safety and security our police need, when dealing with more complex, difficult and challenging situations.''

The group demonstrated its air support, K9 and public order management capabilities at the AFP's Majura facility yesterday.

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The new group is the result of over two years of work, following a review of capabilities by former army chief Peter Leahy.

The restructuring forced many officers to relocate from other major cities to Canberra.