Military Wiki
Specialist Response Group
Active 2012 - Present
Country Australia Australia
Branch Australian Federal Police
Role Counter terrorism
Law enforcement
Hostage rescue
Counter narcotics
Special Recovery
Part of Australian Federal Police
Garrison/HQ Canberra City ACT
Nickname(s) SRG

Pong Su incident,[1] 2003 Canberra bushfires,[2]

1993 Jolimont Centre siege
An AFP Commander

Specialist Response Group (SRG) is the elite counter terrorism 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 special operations tasks.As well being highly regarded around the world as being one of the best Counter terrorism units.SRG predominantly consist of sworn police officers, based in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT), who are capable of resolving counter terrorism and hostage rescue operations both domestically and internationally.[3] 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 and most elite specialist policing capability in Australia with around 200 personnel.[4]


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 elite tactical operators of their own for both national operations 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 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 Wing was opened in Melbourne, Victoria.[5]

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 the capabilities and effectiveness.[6] Both Brisbane and Melbourne ORG offices were re-located to Canberra[5] in preparation for the merger, with the SRG becoming operational in Canberra on 1 July 2012.


SRG is tasked with deploying either domestically or internationally in order to resolve a number of specialist operations.It can deploy and provide critical assistance to regional neighbours in times of crisis, and assist with the restoration of law and order, hostage rescue and counter terrorism operations.[4]

SRG provide resources to three distinct areas namely:

  • International Deployment Group operations (supporting AFP’s overseas operations including capacity building and regional stability operations).
  • AFP National Investigations (across Australia); and
  • ACT Policing (supporting community policing in the ACT).[6]

As SRG are significantly larger than each of its predecessors (SRS and ORG), there is increased flexibility for AFP command to provide greater capabilities to particular operations or incidents while maintaining other core roles and permanent deployments.[7] SRG capabilities throughout Australia and overseas include:[8]

  • Counter Terrorism
  • Hostage rescue
  • disaster response
  • tactical intelligence
  • EOD response
  • Maritime interdictions
  • CBRNE Disposal
  • VIP Protection
  • Search and Rescue
  • Counter Narcotics
  • Site Protection

SRG provide the only full-time tactical and public order specialist policing for Australian Capital Territory (ACT Policing) and SRG also operate in other states and territory police jurisdictions when required as well internationally.

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.[9] 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.[9]

The primary operational components of SRG are Specialist Response, Tactical Response and Targeted Operations, and they are supported by Specialist Policing Command and Coordination.[6]

Specialist response

  • Police Negotiators (PNT or 'Negs') aim to achieve non-violent resolution to life threatening situations through effective crisis communications. The team supports SRG operations domestically and can respond to international incidents when negotiator skills are required.
  • Tactical Intelligence (TI) engage in the collection, collation, analysis, production and dissemination of intelligence product in support of SRG.
  • Tactical Canine (Dog) provide a tactical police K9 response which can be utilised for tasks including search for offenders, missing persons and physical evidence. They also support crowd control and critical incident operations. An intensive selection and training course is conducted for handlers.[10]
  • Bomb Response Team (BRT) coordinate all bomb response capabilities and is a Bomb Response capability under the Australian New Zealand, Counter Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) arrangements. The BRT consists of both full-time Bomb Response Technicians and Bomb Appraisal Officers (BAO). BRT respond to a range of explosive oriented tasks including render safe, explosive search, appraisal and explosive recovery operations wherever required throughout Australia or overseas. BRT are able to resolve chemical, biological and radiological incidents where explosive threat is present. BRT facilitates and manages the national AFP BAO capability including training and assessment (primarily for aviation portfolio) and Bomb Search Team training (primarily for ACT Policing).[11]

Tactical response teams

  • Tactical Response - (TR) Operators respond to high risk Counter terrorism and Hostage rescue incidents.The teams are capable to operate in urban, rural, amphibious, arctic and mountainous environments are defined as a Police Tactical Group[6] within the Australian and New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) arrangements.TR skill sets include advance close quarter tactics, advanced dynamic breaching techniques, combat diving and HALO/HAHO infiltration techniques.[12]
  • Marksman Reconnaissance - (MR) Operators provide reconnaissance, overwatch protection, tracking, image capture and transfer and support to high risk operations. MR operators are experienced PTG operators who are further qualified to ANZCTC Marksman standards.[6]
  • Communications Response - (CR) members provide tactical communication support to SRG teams in a variety of environments.[6]

Targeted operations teams

  • Targeted Operations - (TO) consists of Operators trained in Public Order Management (riot control), Search and Rescue, Rapid Disaster Response and other tactical tasks in support of SRG or wider AFP operations.[13] TO members undertake a variety of SAR skills including land search, roping/ vertical rescue, cold weather/ mountain rescue, swift water rescue, down-the-wire winching helicopter rescue, urban search and rescue (USAR) and confined space rescue. A number of members are trained as Search and Rescue Mission Coordinators (SARMC) and are regularly called upon to coordinate searches in ACT or assist in searches internationally.
  • Maritime - members provide specialist Frogman capabilities in support of AFP national and international operations including VBSS,Special Recovery,Maritime Counter-terrorism and Search and rescue operations.As we’ll providing Specialist Search and rescue operators world-wide.[6]
  • Air Support - (AS) members operate theEurocopter EC155 in support of SRG operations in Australia and overseas. They provide pilots and aerial platforms for overwatch and observation, and utilise Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) technology.So they can insert and extract operators into Areas of Operation via various means including fast-roping, abseiling (rapelling), casting,winching and High-altitude military parachuting.The team also delivers airborne skills maintenance training across SRG teams.[6]
  • Extended Capabilities - (EC) consist of Operators who provide national coordination and standardisation of part-time and embedded specialist capabilities, including regional Specialist Support Teams, Operational Support Group (ACT Policing), Public Order Management, Search and Rescue and SRG Medics program. EC assist these capabilities through application of national consistency of operating procedures, training, uniform and equipment, enabling members to provide effective support to a range of local, national and international AFP policing operations.[6]

Specialist policing command and coordination

  • SRG Command, Coordination and Planning undertake command support and planning services for SRG.
  • Training Team operators facilitate SRG selection courses and TR and TO Operator basic courses. They maintain and develop contemporary firearms and tactical skills[14] providing ongoing specialist training for operators. Training Team also have fitness experts who assist in maintaining SRG members health and fitness.
  • Logistics members provide logistical and stores support to all SRG teams operating locally, nationally and internationally.[6]


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.[15]

Selection and Training

Potential operators must have a minimum of two years contemporary sworn policing experience before undertaking a series of psychological, psychometric and physical fitness testing.[16] Applicants must also complete an integrity assessment, security clearance, panel interview and a medical examination.[17] Once barrier gateways are met, potential members undertake a physically demanding and arduous TR or TO selection course which lasts 2 weeks On successful completion of the relevant selection course and receiving a recommendation potential operators are then able to commence Tactical operators basic courses which has a success rate of 8 to 10% On successful completion of the basic operators course trainees are then admitted into SRG where they will have to go through multiple advance courses which all operators go through these include.

• Advance CQB Course • Advance Self-Defense Course

• Advance Diving Course • Advance surveillance Course • Advance EOD/CBRNE Course • Advance Sniper Course • Advance FreeFall parachutists Course • Advance Medic Course • Advance Offensive/Defensive driving Course • SERE Course • Advance Communications Course • Advance methods of entry Course • Advance Mountaineering Course • Advance Infiltration techniques Course • foreign language Course


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 the Glock 22 and the Heckler & Koch USP pistol.the SRG primary weapon systems include the Heckler & Koch HK416,Heckler & Koch G-36 and the SIG MCX.Other weapon systems they utilise include the Heckler & Koch MP-5,Heckler & Koch MP7.Specialists weapons they use include the Heckler & Koch HK417,Barrett MRAD,Barrett M82 and the Accuracy International AWM.[18][19] SRG utilise less lethal (extended range impact and chemical) weapons and munitions[20][21] such as the Bean bag round.[22]

AFP Tactical operators have utilised the Taser conducted energy weapon since 2004,[23] but it is expected that SRG will soon convert from the Taser (X26) to the Taser X2.[23]

SRG utilise an variety of armoured police vehicles including the Lenco BearCat and Hawkei PMV for particular police operations.[24]

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.[25]

International training and personal exchanges

SRG are known to train with multiple different units from around the world these include.

US - Hostage Rescue Team (FBI)

UK - Special Air Service

Irish - Garda Emergency Response Unit

German - GSG-9

French - Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale

Austria - EKO Cobra

Italian - Gruppo di Intervento Speciale

Spain - Grupo Especial de Operaciones

NZ - Special Tactics Group

Japan - Special Assault Team

Hong Kong - Special Duties Unit

Indonesian - Detachment 88

South Korean - 707th Special Mission Group

See also

Equivalent tactical units


  3. [1][dead link]
  4. 4.0 4.1 "5 July 2012 - AFP launches its new Specialist Response Group". 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Elite police super group". 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 "Australian Federal Police". 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  7. "ACT Policing Annual Report 2011/12". pp. 18–19. 
  8. "Media Release: AFP launches the new Specialist Response Group - Australian Federal Police". Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Citation required
  10. "Canine capability - Australian Federal Police". Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  11. "Bomb response explodes in potential". Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  12. "ACT Annual Report 2011/12". p. 138. 
  13. "Articles - Australian Police Journal | Australian Police Journal". Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  14. "AFP Annual Report 2010". p. 99. 
  15. "Courses for the Policing sector". Fulcrum TRG. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  16. "Specialist Response Group - Australian Federal Police". 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  17. [2][dead link]
  18. "AusTender: Contract Notice View - CN53453". Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  19. "Weapons of Modern Warfare - G36C / MG36". YouTube. 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  20. "AusTender: Contract Notice View - CN123170". Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  21. "Blue Line: AFP actions on Christmas Island". Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  22. "Lateline - 15/03/2011: Beanbag bullets fired on Christmas Island rioters". 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  23. 23.0 23.1
  24. "Canberra gets a beast! Behold the Lenco Engineering Armoured Rescue Vehicle.". The RiotACT. 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  25. "Major equipment used by the SRG Bomb Response Team". Retrieved 2013-05-13. 

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