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Special Tasks & Rescue Group

The Special Tasks and rescue Group (S.T.A.R. Group) is tasked with the provision of mobile patrol personnel skilled in the use of firearms, anti-terrorist tactics, crowd control, crime prevention techniques, and underwater recovery and search and rescue operations.

The S.T.A.R. Group comprises:

Operations Section

The Operations Section is responsible for a myriad of tasks including high risk policing, counter terrorist response, search and rescue operations and the supplementation of general duty patrols.

Each member is required to develop and maintain skills in weapons handling, high risk policing, counter terrorist standard operating procedures, VIP protection, search and rescue operations, civil disorder techniques and many other functions peculiar to S.T.A.R. Operations. Select individuals within S.T.A.R. Operations develop specialist skills in one key area allowing the provision of helicopter aircrew, marksmen/observers, VIP drivers, Search and Rescue Coordination and bomb technicians.

Dog Operations Unit

The South Australian Dog Operations Unit provides support to operational police through the deployment of highly trained dog teams. Each team comprises a trained dog, being either a German Shepherd or Labrador retriever dog and handler. These dog teams are based in metropolitan Adelaide but are able to respond to calls for assistance throughout the State. Police dog teams are trained to carry out duties involving tracking, searching, criminal apprehension, drug detection and explosive detection.

The Dog Operations Unit plays an important role in assisting to keep the community safe in South Australia. The natural instincts and abilities of a dog to follow a track or locate a hidden/lost person or object cannot be replicated by modern technology.

The Dog Operations Unit is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Water Operations Unit

Water Operations Unit is responsible for policing the costal and inland waters of South Australia and provides the capability for search and rescue in those waters. There are five vessels varying from a five metre inflatable dinghy to a 16 metre Launch. The vessels are also used as diving platforms for police divers. The divers assist local police in the recovery of bodies or submerged objects from the sea, inland waters and caves.

All water responses (sea search and rescue, water policing, diving, and Marine Crime Watch) are conducted by this Unit.

Mounted Operations Unit

The South Australia Mounted Police is an integral part of today's policing strategies, unique in its contribution to the maintenance of law and order. Apart from the highly visible roles of escort duties and mounted patrols, there are many ways the Mounted Operations Unit contributes to the safety of the people.

The size gives the mounted officer a greater field of view than the foot or mobile officer while, at the same time, providing a more obvious police presence. Generally, they have access to the same areas as other officers and can operate in areas impractical or inaccessible to officers in vehicles or on foot.

Imposing as they are, the non-aggressive presence of the horse enables mounted officers to safely and quickly defuse violent or antisocial situations, quite often without the hostility usually directed at other officers in similar circumstances. The mere presence of a police horse attracts immediate attention and provides an excellent medium for police and public interaction, particularly with those who would normally avoid police contact. When properly deployed, the mounted officer is an effective and modern police resource.

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Negotiator Coordination Section

The Negotiator Coordination Section provides support to operational police by deployment of trained negotiators throughout the State. Under the National Guidelines, negotiation is considered the first option to achieve a peaceful resolution in high-risk incidents and negotiators respond to all types of incidents where their expertise may be of assistance.

In the metropolitan area, a team of four negotiators is on-call on a weekly basis. In country areas, negotiators respond as requested with support from negotiators in nearby country areas as well as from the metropolitan on-call team.

The Negotiation Coordination Section is part of the Special Tasks and Rescue (STAR) Group and negotiators are available to respond to crisis and high risk jobs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Explosive Coordination Section

The Explosive Coordination Section (ECS) is responsible for:

  • Disposing of improvised explosive devices (IED) and /or explosive material
  • Disposing of commercial explosives
  • Clearing explosives from safes
  • Clearing explosives scenes before post-blast examination
  • Advising members of the public on measures to counter bomb threats
  • Conducting high risk searches for bombs, explosives, booby traps etc.
  • Maintaining a credibility to respond, as required, to all terrorist incidents
  • Coordinating responses for military ordnance.


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