AFP to form paramilitary wing
Mark Dodd | July 26, 2007
THE Australian Federal Police will form a 1200-strong paramilitary-style International Deployment Group to be equipped with the latest weaponry including armoured personnel carriers.
Tenders are now being called for the vehicles designed to provide maximum protection for the specialised police unit, which will be capable of being deployed alongside the army on peacekeeping operations.
The force is expected to be at full strength next year, AFP officers told a Senate inquiry yesterday. The IDG will be equipped with a formidable arsenal and structured along similar lines to the crack Portuguese National Republican Guard with which the AFP has worked closely in East Timor, said Commander Steve Lancaster.
Both the AFP and the Australian Defence Force are having to adapt more frequently to non-traditional missions, whether in Afghanistan or the immediate neighbourhood, an area dubbed the "arc of instability".
The government-backed Australian Strategic Policy Institute recently released a report saying Defence was becoming increasingly involved in non-war fighting roles such as civil border protection, while police and public servants were in the front line of security in areas as diverse as Baghdad and Bougainville.
Mr Lancaster told the inquiry this meant the IDG would be equipped to deal with a wide range of security challenges and would need to be able to dispense lethal and non-lethal force to restore order in hot spots such as the Solomons and East Timor.
Recruits drawn from sworn police ranks and Protective Service Officers would typically be deployed on 20-week rotational blocks, he said. The IDG's mandate would allow a rapid "blue uniform" presence during civil unrest, relieving the army of policing responsibility at an early stage in peacekeeping operations.
The force is expected to account for more than a third of the entire AFP budget, currently running at $1.1billion.
Después de tanta ... entre el Ejército Australiano y la GNR en Timor, ellos ahora van a hacer una unidad a imitar nuestra rapaziada!
Creo que es un reconocimiento de los Australianos de la capacidad de los militares de la GNR.