Special Tactics Group
|Special Tactics Group|
|Active||1964 – present|
|Branch||New Zealand Police|
|Type||Police Tactical Unit|
|Inspector Steve Mather|
The Special Tactics Group (STG) is the full-time Police Tactical Unit of the New Zealand Police and is designated a Police Tactical Group by the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC). The STG, originally named the Anti-Terrorist Squad, was 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. In 2012, the New Zealand Government entered into Australia's National Counter Terrorism arrangement forming a co-operation partnership between the countries with the committee that oversees the agreement renamed to the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee.
- 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 machine gun (mostly been phased out by the M4)
- 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 Police Tactical Groups
- List of police tactical units
- "Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee". Australian National Security. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- Forbes, Murray J. (1997). Confessions from the front line. Sandringham, Auckland: Howling at the Moon Productions. p. 199. ISBN 0-9583568-5-8.
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