Critical Incident Response Team

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Critical Incident Response Team
Active 2004[1] - Present
Country Australia Australia
Branch Victoria Police
Role Law Enforcement, Domestic Counter-Terrorism and Tactical Law Enforcement
Size 130+ full-time officers
Part of Specialist Support Department
Garrison/HQ Melbourne, Victoria
Nickname CIRT

The Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) is part of the Victorian Police Force Response Unit Command.


A Critical Incident Response Team member at a siege in Belmont, Geelong on 27 September 2012.

CIRT maintains a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week, first response to incidents including armed offender, hostage situations, violent prisoner control or transfer, suspicious substance attacks and terrorist actions [2] in support of the Special Operations Group. CIRT officers currently respond to over 20 incidents a month.[3][4]

In high risk situations CIRT response is to cordon and contain an area until the arrival of the Special Operations Group. CIRT officers have a range of specialised equipment and weapons in their inventory ranging from ballistic and tactical vests, riot shields, Tasers, bean bag rounds and various OC (pepper spray) delivery systems [5] [2] Officers are armed with Smith & Wesson M&P pistols, Heckler & Koch UMP submachine-guns and various shotguns.[6][7][8]

Network Ten's police drama Rush (2008 TV series) is based upon the critical incident response team.[9]

Role of the CIRT[edit]

The primary functions of the CIRT are to provide support to police operations and protection to witnesses at risk. The CIRT provides support to regions in their response to emergency, public disorder and general operational situations that have proved, or are anticipated to be beyond the resources of the region concerned. CIRT personnel are deployed mainly in circumstances where for one reason or another, local police are unable to adequately respond to the situation [3].

In March 2004, the Force Response Unit launched the CIRT concept after a gap in the resources available to regional police members was identified [4].

In situations where incidents pose a threat to members or are difficult to resolve due to violence or other dangers and do not fall into the call out criteria of the Special Operations Group (SOG) there is another option, CIRT deployment. The provision of the CIRT has since become the Core function of the formerly named Force Response Unit and an invaluable resource to Victoria Police [5].

In 2011 the role of CIRTs was expanded to include responding more often to incidents that would previously have been handled by the Special Operations Group and have also recently been equipped with Heckler & Koch UMP submachine guns.[10]

The Critical Incident Response Team continues to offer a variety of other support and specialist services such as:

  1. Close personal protection
  2. The provision of trained and qualified police negotiators and equipment
  3. The provision of security for protected witnesses
  4. High risk escorts
  5. Prison/ police cell assaults/extractions
  6. The conduct or assistance with covert or overt operations in support of investigations and /or the apprehension of offenders
  7. Suspicious substance response and/or advice
  8. Chemical, biological, and/or radiological (CBR) response capabilities and equipment
  9. Training

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 11242 OMB SOG Report Cover - The Office of Police Integrity
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Police trim a third off terror unit". The Age (Melbourne). 2010-04-08. 
  4. ^ Gipsland Times: Terror alert
  5. ^ "Critical Incident Response Team" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  6. ^ Victoria police CIRT perform tactical arrest drills for public
  7. ^ North Bendigo siege ends in arrest
  8. ^ Police shut down Werribee streets after reports of gunfire inside home
  9. ^ RUSH, about the show:
  10. ^ Siege and hold-up could be linked

External links[edit]