We spoke with Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton about the roll out of the new crowd control equipment to address some of the community concerns.
To learn more about how Victoria Police’s highly trained specialist teams, the Operations Response Unit (ORU), is continuing to increase its capability with the introduction of new crowd control equipment and specialist vehicles, check out our video on crowd control equipment →
One of Victoria Police’s highly trained specialist teams, the Operations Response Unit (ORU), is continuing to increase its capability with the introduction of new crowd control equipment and specialist vehicles. As part of the Victorian State Government’s 2016 Public Safety Package, the ORU received an initial $7.6 million with ongoing funding ($35 million) over five years to improve the management of large scale or high-risk public order incidents.
Some of the funding has already been invested in specialist vehicles, protective equipment, uniforms and training which we began rolling out in 2016. As part of this funding the ORU has recently procured a new command truck and crowd control equipment.
The new crowd control equipment, which includes hand-delivered distraction devices, will provide police with a number of tactical options. If required, the new equipment can deploy smoke, dye, inert powder, foam projectiles and OC to disperse large and hostile crowds. The command vehicle will be used as a mobile Incident Control Centre and can receive live-streamed vision from the frontline to assist with rapid decision making and the identification of offenders.
Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp said this enhanced capability will ensure the ORU is able to better respond to significant public order disturbances, riots or other issues that require police intervention in order to keep the community safe. “Ideally we would never have cause to use this equipment, but we want the community to be aware that if a situation arises we do have these options available.
“Most of the crowd control equipment we’ve procured is already used by other specialist units within Victoria Police, including the Critical Incident Response Team and Special Operations Group, however this is the first time we will have the option to use them when responding to significant public order incidents. “This is also the first time that the VKS Pepperball firearm will be used by Victoria Police in any capacity.
“It can be used to deal with dangerous individuals or crowds and mark offenders for later identification. “Extensive research has gone into selecting this new equipment and we are confident that our choices will be effective in addressing the current and emerging trends impacting frontline public order policing. “The new crowd control equipment will enable police to safely engage with people who choose to act in a violent manner from a greater distance without needing to engage in a hand-to-hand physical confrontation.
“Police will be able to better manage emerging and dynamic incidents without putting themselves or the community in danger. “The safety of the Victorian community is the highest priority for Victoria Police and this significant uplift in capability will give us the best available resources to do this. This new specialist crowd control equipment is in addition to the previously announced:
• Updated fleet of Public Order Response Team (PORT) vehicles and nine additional vehicles
• Uniform items including helmets, riot shields, tactical vest, and gloves
• 40 additional full-time officers • New video technology and evidence gathering teams
• Specialised training for all ORU members including crowd control tactics and riot formations to increase the capacity of the Public Order Response Team (PORT) when needed.
The ORU will shortly begin rolling out the new crowd control equipment and it is expected the deployment will be completed by the end of 2018.
Reviewed 13 February 2019