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SWAT

State Investigation and Protection Agency – SIPA

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SIPA Special Support Unit  1

SIPA is one of the youngest agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina law enforcement created with one goal – to counter terrorism and organized crime on the state level. SIPA stands for State Investigation and Protection Agency.

They were trained and equipped with the support of western countries which included joint training with various units including US Navy SEALs, Green Berets, Maryland National Guard, British Special Air Service, French GIGN, EKO Cobra. After SIPA was created, there was a need for a their own special unit which will support the work of main parts of agencies, like the Organised Crime Department, Department for War Crimes and similar because they was dealing with dangerous persons, war criminals, kingpins, members of organized crime, drug dealers and all other bad guys.

SIPA joint tactical training with Serbian SAJ

In 2005, the agency created their own special unit named “Jedinica za specijalističku podršku” what means “Special Support Unit”. First members were trained by United States instructor and they spent some time abroad, in the United States. The unit is well-trained and well-equipped, one of most elite in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From 2005 to now, they accomplished few thousands of raids and dangerous arrests.

They are made from three units, Alpha, Beta, and Gama. First two units are ordinary SWAT teams with offensive tactics, and the third one Gama, besides ordinary tasks, has specialties like Scuba Diving, Sky Diving, alpine climbing.

Training and recruiting

The new members, who apply for special units, are coming from other Bosnia and Herzegovina law enforcement units. They are going through excessive medical, physical and mental evaluation during 7-days course, and only toughest are welcomed to join the unit. After the new members enter the unit, they are newbie’s, what means that they are not involved in operations for six months after the join. In that six months, they are going through basic special training for this special unit, whey they learn basics of tactics, shooting, martial arts and similar techniques used by such type of unit.

member of SIPA swat brandishing weapon

Their goal is to become a specialist and take place in one of the teams. After they finish their basic training they are assigned to the teams where they working in their further training and need to choose one specialty.

Equipment

The special support unit is equipped with various weapons. From assault rifle, in their inventory, they have M21 Zastava and SCAR. As a submachine gun, they prefer Heckler and Koch MP5. They also use and conduct training on other weapons such as sniper rifles, shotguns, anti-riot guns, grenade launchers and similar. For a sidearm, they are using Austrian GLOCK 17.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_N66PyRPIg

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SWAT

Special Intervention Unit – SIU

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The main counter-terrorism unit of Kosovo police first created as Special Unit in 2003. In the very beginning, it was organized as a standard SWAT unit with two teams of 15 police officers who were trained by two American instructors.

In March 2005, they were presented as an elite special force unit with main tasks in the counter-terrorism and hostage rescue. A very tough candidate selection consisted of several tests which included physical fitness and drills, and after first selection ever, only 18 candidates from few hundred volunteers made it through and were added as the first generation of future Special Forces of Kosovo.

A strict selection policy was followed through several hard tests and only 18 candidates were selected among hundreds of willing volunteer officers to be the first generation of the Special Intervention Unit.

The unit was formed, established and armed by UNMIK professional instructors who were assigned to the Kosovo mission from their native countries special forces including Egyptian HRF, the German GSG-9, French GIGN, Bulgarian Special Forces and other similar units. In late 2006, due to certain difficulties, the project of national counter-terrorism unit was transformed into a SWAT team which was in the range of regular SWAT teams. The unit was named as the FIT – First Intervention Team.

SIU members during the tactical training near their headquarters in Prishtina

SIU members during the tactical training near their headquarters in Prishtina

The project was adopted by UNMIK’s French counterpart. The French soldiers continued to work on the unit project and in late 2007, they started an upgrade and overtook new training and challenges. The unit has again undergone a name change, from FIT to SIU – Specialized Intervention Unit.

Today, SIU is supervised by EULEX (after UNMIK handed the task) and they are training and shaping its skills through various joint training with Western instructors which includes instructors from world’s leading units in that field.

The international contribution is currently through the mentoring-monitoring-advising tasks, accompanying the FIT/SIU on the way of the full autonomy.

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SWAT

Nationella Insatsstyrkan – NI

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Nationella Insatsstyrkan, NI is Swedish National Task Force formerly known as ONI (Ordningspolisens Nationella Insatsstyrka). Formed in 1991, the unit distinguished itself as Sweden’s primary counter-terrorism unit, but despite they have jurisdiction in the whole country, the need for the unit has been limited so far.

NI is designated as the main counter-terrorism unit in Sweden. They are responsible for handling extraordinarily difficult or life-threatening criminal situations, such as terrorism, hostage situations, armed kidnapping and serving high-risk arrest warrants in cities too remote for Piketen in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö to handle. NI is similar to other units of this type in Europe such as Germany’s GSG-9,  French GIGN, British SCO19, Irish ERU. Their structure and training are also related to the FBI HRT in the United States.

The unit is supported by local SWAT teams attached to the local police departments in Sweden. That means that in the case of emergency, local SWAT teams are first responders and the ones responsible for preparing intelligence and sealing the place until NI comes.

Nationella insatsstyrkan (National Task Force) Sweden

A member of Sweden’s Nationella insatsstyrkan (National Task Force) unit brandishing his Heckler and Koch MP5 during operation

Despite they are regular domestic police unit, NI has been involved in some jobs abroad.  In 2006, NI officers were deployed to Lebanon to help evacuate Swedish citizens during the war between Hezbollah and Israel. NI officers have also been deployed with Special Team Six in Kosovo to EULEX mission.

Members of the NI work full-time in the force. They used to work two weeks and then have two weeks of regular police work, but as the need for them increased they changed it to full-time to cope with the demand and the need for more training. NI has around 50 members divided into 8 groups:

  • 2 assault groups (Alpha, Beta)
  • 2 support groups (Charlie, Delta)
  • 1 demolition group (Echo)
  • 1 sniper group (Fox)
  • 1 sniper support group (Golf)
  • 1 scuba divers group (Hotel)

Equipment

The assault groups are mainly armed with various Heckler and Koch MP5 models and Sig-Sauer P228s for personal defense. The sniper support group uses the L96A1 7.62mm sniper rifle. Personal body armor is mostly from indigenous Swedish origin and has been battle proven, by Swedish soldiers who took part in UN missions.

Among their weapon arsenal, there are also assault rifles (G36) and various types of shotguns. According to pictures taken during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Stockholm in September 2013, NI also has the new Sako TRG M10 Sniper Weapon System in caliber .338 Lapua Magnum in their inventory.

Nationella insatsstyrkan (NI) uses special type of vehicles

Nationella insatsstyrkan (NI) uses special type of vehicles

The unit also distinguishes themselves from other Swedish police by a wide variety of uniforms, including standard Army woodland camouflage.

Training and selection

NI’s tactical training is not different from other West-European counter-terrorist teams. Most of their training exercise deal with urban hostage rescue. In addition to assaulters, they have a negotiation team that attempts to first gain the hostages’ release through peaceful means.

Part of their training is done with the Swedish armed forces. Several of the members are former members of elite military units, and the Nationella Insatsstyrkan is described by some as a paramilitary unit within the Swedish police force.

https://youtu.be/11swuL4XvPY

NI often train with the special forces unit of the Armed Forces, the Special Operations Task Group.

To be eligible for NI, the candidate is required to have at least 2 years of distinguished service in the police, a clean criminal record, and be able to pass a series of tests:

  • Physical stamina
  • Marksmanship
  • Non-predisposition for several types of phobias, such as fear of cramped spaces, heights or water
  • Psychological fitness
  • Deep interview
  • 10 days in the field

NI’s headquarters

They are based in Stockholm and under the direct control of the Prime Minister, who directs them in matters of terrorist actions against Sweden. If the armed response is used to free a hostage from the terrorists, it can only be ordered by the Prime Minister of Sweden or if the life of the hostage is in mortal danger. Transportation of NI members is carried out by the Swedish Air Force, or by other branches of the Services.

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