New Zealand's response to threats of terrorism
Responding to the threat of terrorism
Terrorism is the use of violence to achieve ideological, political or religious ends.
In New Zealand the Police Commissioner is accountable for the operational response to threats to national security, including terrorism, and has a key role through The Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (ODESC).
ODESC is made up of many different government and non-government agencies which work together to manage New Zealand's wider counter-terrorism efforts.
The Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 provides for a list of terrrorist entities to be established and maintained in New Zealand. Police are responsible for coordinating requests to the Prime Minister for designation as a terrorist entity.
List of designated terrorist organisations and individuals, updated 21 May 2012.
In January 2002 Cabinet approved police funding for a range of counterterrorist measures.
New positions established to increase capability to pre-empt and respond to terrorist attacks include:
- An Assistant Commissioner to take an executive lead on counterterrorism and national security matters
- A full time Special Tactics Group to respond operationally to terrorist emergencies
- A full time Specialist Search Group and National Bomb Data Centre Manager
- A new Strategic Intelligence Unit (SIU)
- New liaison positions at diplomatic missions in London, Washington DC and Jakarta, and the pending creation of a further liaison position in Suva
- Additional police at six New Zealand airports.
New Zealand Police maintains several overseas posts that help identify potential terrorist risks to New Zealand and the surrounding region. We are also building relationships with key international intelligence units.
Prior to 11 September 2001, NZ Police had liaison officers in Canberra, Sydney and Bangkok, and had been represented in Australia and Thailand for over 20 years. Police are well aware of the value of relationship building, intelligence sharing and operational development.
In 2002, liaison officers were appointed in Washington and London. In 2003 a liaison post was created in Jakarta and in September 2004 a post was established in Suva. Most recently a liaison office was established in Beijing, China, in 2007.
There is close interaction between Police and intelligence agencies to ensure a seamless approach to national security and counterterrorism matters. Information is shared to enable rapid responses and effective strategy development.
Police also work closely with agencies such as Customs and Immigration, which have primary responsibility for New Zealand's border security. The presence of Police at international airports for security and screening is a prime example. Police are able to make an effective contribution to multi-agency border control measures aimed at preventing terrorist acts.
Special Tactics Groups (STG)
The STG provides a 'tactical capability' ie; the management of a situation. They also deal with armed incidents beyond the capability of the Armed Offender Squads, and provides protection to high risk persons. STG staff also collect information about criminal activities.
Armed Offender Squads (AOS)
There are 17 Armed Offender Squads (AOS) with 270 part-time members. AOS provide an armed response to incidents involving firearms, or suspected firearms. The squads, formed in the 1960s, cordon, contain and negotiate during an incident. The addition of Police Negotiation Teams has helped in the peaceful resolution of many armed incidents.
See the Armed Offender Squads page for more detail.
Diplomatic Protection Squad (DPS)
DPS provides personal protection in New Zealand for visiting guests of Government, such as royalty and Heads of State. The squad is also responsible for the protection for our own dignitaries, both in New Zealand and overseas.
See the Diplomatic Protection Squad page for more detail.
Specialist Search Group (SSG)
In 1984 SSG was formed to search for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). It has since been used in all major security operations including the 1990 Commonwealth Games, CHOGM, APEC, royal and VIP tours.
The group's primary role is to search for IEDs, other dangerous items and substances. Further chem/bio capabilities are being developed. The skills the group has acquired in that role are now being used in a variety of general searches.
The SSG is familiar with explosive substances currently available within NZ and current trends in the use of international.
Search and Rescue (SAR)
Police are responsible for land and close-to-shore search and rescue. There are 23 Police SAR Squads, with five to 16 members. These are part-time squads trained and equipped to operate in difficult conditions. Volunteers provide the greatest resource in both land and marine SAR. NZ Land SAR provides most of the volunteers