Special Operations Group (SOG)
Who are the SOG
The Special Operations Group (SOG) is a highly trained group within the Tasmania Police Service, made up of current serving Tasmania Police members from varied sections and branches.
The role of the Group is to offer, via specific tactical training, support to state-wide 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.
This also includes potential deployment in a national counter terrorist role in support of the National Anti Terrorist Plan (NATP). The 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.
History of the SOG
The SOG commenced in 1978 with police officers undertaking basic tactical training.
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.
The SOG is also proud of the fact that the some of the highest ranking members of Tasmania Police, including Commissioner Richard McCreadie, have served as Commanders of the Group.
Why have a SOG Unit
The primary role of the SOG is to support the vision of the Tasmania Police, "To be widely recognised as Australia's finest policing and emergency management service" and the mission, "To make Tasmania safe."
In essence, the SOG provides the Tasmania Police Service and the Tasmanian community, with a specialist tactical resource that offers protection, rescue and resolution capabilities in high-risk situations.
The operational objective of the SOG is always to safely resolve an incident using the least force possible.
Selection of SOG Members
Members of the Group are carefully selected via a specific and demanding multi phase selection process, designed to clearly identify applicants with the best potential to undergo the rigorous, demanding and sometimes dangerous operations.
Applicants must be:
- Physically and mentally fit;
- Highly motivated; and
- 'High performers' in their primary work place.
Applicants must also have continually displayed a high level of:
- Personal and departmental standards;
- Restraint; and
- Professionalism in policing.
Undoubtedly, SOG training offers members the opportunity to acquire skills in various disciplines beyond those required for normal policing duties. Some of those skills include:
- Meticulous planning skills;
- Increased verbal communication ability;
- Defensive tactics;
- Less lethal force options;
- VIP protection;
- Containment/cordon skills;
- Advanced roping techniques;
- Air and water borne operations;
- Specialist driving techniques;
- Bushcraft and navigation;
- Advanced weapon skills, including marksmanship; and
- National counter terrorist training.
Involvement in and undertaking the above training, not only enhances a member's state of readiness to act appropriately in the face of adversity, but assists in personal confidence and builds self esteem.