Special Tactics Group
|Special Tactics Group|
|Active||1964 – present|
|Branch||New Zealand Police|
|Role||Law Enforcement, Counter-Terrorism and Tactical Law Enforcement|
|Part of||New Zealand Police|
2007 New Zealand anti-terror raids
2009 Napier shootings
2012 Megaupload arrests
|Inspector Steve Mather|
The STG is civilian-police SWAT-type unit established to respond to high-risk situations which are beyond the scope or capacity of everyday policing. STG officers directly support operational police in incidents, such as sieges, with specialist tactical, negotiation, intelligence and command support services.
The Anti-Terrorist Squad was a part-time unit raised in the 1960s to deal with high risk situations involving armed offenders and possible terrorism related events. Commissioner of Police John Jamieson sent the group in response to the Aramoana massacre in 1990. They located gunman David Gray and ended his spree. Group member Stephen Vaughan was shot in the ankle during the final shoot-out.
The squad was renamed the Special Tactics Group in 1992, and became a full-time group in 2002 due to changes made by the New Zealand Police in response to worldwide terrorism-related events. The STG was involved in the 2009 Napier shootings alongside their colleagues in the Armed Offenders Squad.
Officers are assigned to the STG on a full-time basis with sections based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
The STG deals with armed incidents that are beyond the capability of the part-time Armed Offenders Squad, of which they are also members. While the Armed Offenders Squad is trained to cordon or contain high risk situations such as sieges, the Special Tactics Group is trained to resolve them. The group also provides specialist protection to high risk persons and VIPs. The STG is supported during its operations by the Armed Offenders Squad, negotiation teams and canine units trained for use in situations involving firearms.
The STG has provided specialist armed officers for overseas operations such as the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), working alongside officers from the Australian Federal Police. Along with Police Tactical Groups from across Australia it provided several officers on secondment to the NSW Police Force Tactical Operations Unit to assist with security operations during the Sydney APEC meeting in 2007. STG have been part of all major security operations in New Zealand including the 1990 Commonwealth Games, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1995, APEC meetings, royal and VIP tours.
- Protecting endangered witnesses
- Resolving siege and hostage situations, as well as with AOS.
- Undertaking searches of premises in high risk situations
- Collecting tactical information on criminal activities
- The arrest of armed and dangerous offenders
- Escorting and securing dangerous prisoners in high risk situations
- Providing support services for major operations
- Escorting and protecting VIPs and other at risk or important persons
The STG also provides specialist assistance in performing tasks which are beyond the scope of operational police. Some of these tasks may require specialist equipment or expertise in certain areas.
Positions are open to current or past members of the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS). Officers must successfully complete the STG four-day selection course and three-week qualification course to gain selection to the unit.
In keeping with the weapons available to front-line officers, the STG are issued with the following equipment:
- Glock 17 pistol
- Bushmaster M4A3 carbine with multiple accessories installed such as Surefire Flashlights, Aimpoint and EOtech scopes, front grips, and slings
- Remington 870 shotgun
- HK MP5 sub machince gun (many versions used)
- HK 79 grenade launcher
- Accuracy International AW sniper rifle
- Ballistic vests
- Kevlar helmets
- Ballistic shields 
- Drop-leg holsters and magazine pouches (optional to the officer)
When responding to incidents, or executing planned operations, AOS officers utilise both standard marked and unmarked cars, and large four-wheel drive vehicles, such as the Nissan Patrol. These are fitted with running boards and roof rails, to allow officers to stand on the side while the vehicle is in motion, as well as having enclosed boxes on the roof for carrying equipment. In 2009, two New Zealand Army LAV III light armour vehicles were utilised in response to the 2009 Napier shootings.
- New Zealand Police - Armed Offenders Squad (AOS)
- Australian Federal Police - Specialist Response and Security Team
- New South Wales - Tactical Operations Unit
- Northern Territory - Territory Response Group
- Queensland - Special Emergency Response Team
- South Australia - Special Tasks and Rescue Group
- Tasmania - Special Operations Group
- Victoria - Special Operations Group
- Western Australia - Tactical Response Group
- United States - SWAT
- United States - Federal Bureau of Investigation - Hostage Rescue Team
- Forbes, Murray J. (1997). Confessions from the front line. Sandringham, Auckland: Howling at the Moon Productions. p. 199. ISBN 0-9583568-5-8.
- Van Beynen, Ray (1998). Zero-Alpha: The NZ Police Armed Offenders Squad official history. North Harbour, Auckland: Howling at the Moon Productions. p. 209. ISBN 0-9583717-4-1.
- Forbes, Murray J. (1997). Confessions from the front line. Sandringham, Auckland: Howling at the Moon Productions. p. 178. ISBN 0-9583568-5-8.
- "Police trained for 'ugly situation'". The Press. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- "Protecting New Zealand's Borders – the Government's Approach". NZ Government. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
- "Police expand anti-terrorism unit". New Zealand Herald. September 13, 2002. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
- "Responding to the threat of terrorism". NZ Police. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
- "APEC Meeting (Police Powers) Bill 2007". NSW Government. 7 June 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
- Black-clad police to swarm city: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/5422930/Black-clad-police-to-swarm-city
- Young, Warren. "World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems - New Zealand". U.S. Department of Justice. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- "Armed police riding a Nissan Patrol". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2010-03-30.