Special Operations Group of the Tasmania Police

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Special Operations Group
Active 1978 – present
Country  Australia
Branch Tasmania Tasmania Police
Role Domestic counter-terrorism and law enforcement
Size 30[1]
Part of Under control of the Special Response and Counter Terrorism Unit
Nickname(s) "Sons of God", "Soggies"
Motto "Blessed are the Peacemakers"
Engagements Port Arthur massacre
Inspector Brenton Smith
Inspector Jim Morrison

The Special Operations Group (SOG) is the Police Tactical Group of the Australian Tasmania Police. SOG is a highly trained group within the Tasmania Police Service, made up of current serving Tasmania Police members from varied sections and branches.[2]


The role of the Group is to offer, via specific tactical training, support to statewide police operations where police or members of the Tasmanian public have been or are likely to be exposed to violence or other threats deemed to be of high risk.[3]

This also includes potential deployment in a national counter-terrorism role in support of the National Anti Terrorist Plan (NATP). The Special Operations Group is deployed by the Assistant Commissioner (Crime & Operations). Negotiation is the primary tool for resolution, wherever possible, however the SOG provides high level containment skills and a National "best practice" resolution capability.


The SOG commenced in the late 1970s, with changes to the unit taking place in 1978 in response to the Sydney Hilton Bombing. This incident saw the formation of SACPAV (Standing Advisory Committee on Commonwealth/State Co-operation for Protection AgainstViolence) which provided national consistency across all jurisdictions for Police Tactical Groups in respect to training, equipment and the desired level of response.[4]

Since that time the Group has gone through a number of significant changes, primarily brought about by national trends that saw extreme violence and related threats used and/or targeted against members of Australian communities. Since 1978, the Group has experienced several changes in name and training philosophies – from the Armed Offenders Squad to Special Weapons Squad and now Special Operations Group, a name which more accurately reflects the true nature of the Group's duties.[3]

The Tasmanian Police SOG was involved in the infamous 1996 Port Arthur massacre helping to bring the event to conclusion by arresting the heavily armed gunman Martin Bryant.[5]

In recent times the SOG have sent several officers to assist other jurisdictions, most notably to New South Wales to assist during the 2007 APEC summit in Sydney and also to Perth for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011.[4]

In June 2012 the SOG took delivery of a Lenco BearCat which will either replace or supplement their 2007 purchased Mercedes-Benz 'Sprinter' based armoured tactical vehicle.[6][7][8]


All SOG members are part-time, fulfilling a primary role in a diverse range of work areas across the State, including general uniform positions, CIB, DIS, CMU and Traffic. The members are located in each geographical District and each member is also attached to one of three SOG Teams. Two teams are southern based – Alpha team and Bravo team each with eight (8) members, whilst the third, Echo team, with ten (10) members is based in Launceston. Vehicles and equipment are located with each team to provide a more timely response. Each team participates in the on-call roster with this capability maintained every day of the year.[4]

Principal roles[edit]


SOG training covers many specialist areas, including weapons skills, close quarter tactics, room clearances, method of entry (buildings / doors), less lethal options (including CS gas, Taser and Bean bag rounds), rural and urban tactics, water operations (including the fast response vessel), fast roping / helicopter training, surveillance and many other related tactical skills. The SOG also participates in training exercises and opportunities with other specialist groups within the Tasmanian Police such as Bomb Response, Negotiators and Surveillance Group members. On a national basis Police Tactical Group training is provided in the format of Skills Enhancement Courses where tactical officers from across the Country attend several weeks of specialist training.[4]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]