SIAS – an elite police unit of Romania

SIAS members
A members of SIAS (Photo: Romania Police)

The Independent Unit for Special Interventions and Actions, or just SIAS, is Romania’s special police unit. It began its activity in 1995 within the Brigade of Countering Organized Crime of Romanian police. They are highly trained individuals who work as a team. The SIAS is abbr. for Serviciul Independent de Interventii si Actiuni Speciale.

Today, they are part of the European group of special units ATLAS.

Organization and main responsibilities

As the primary special unit in Romanian police, the SIAS is divided into the two main components:

  • The Department for Special Interventions and Actions.
  • Pyrotechnic Department.

The Department for Special Interventions and Actions’ main duty is the intervention through specific methods and proceedings for catching hazardous criminals or armed with firearms, freeing hostages, kidnapped, or sequestered persons. They are highly trained for these tasks.

SIAS special police unit from Romania
The SIAS operator brandishing his weapon (Photo: Romania Police)

Their members pass special training with tactics, firearms for executing these actions against organized crime. Like all other SWAT teams, they are trained to use various weapons, including pistols, sub-machine guns, shotguns. They also use specialized equipment like a tool for breaching doors, explosive demolition charges.

Training and selection

The SIAS unit incorporates the best officers from all Romania’s rapid intervention formations (DIAS) and comprises 3 detachments, 30 men each; two are located in Bucharest. The SIAS is composed of members who are hand-picked for their performances. Athletes, world champions, and experienced psychologists were wrapped together to form this service.

Selection

Recruitment is a laborious process led by a group of experienced officers and consists of identifying police officers and agents with physical skills and professional abilities for this type of activity, who possess a high degree of adaptability and concentration, a good ability to comprehend, analyze and act lucidly, quickly and correctly in crises. In this respect, the following eliminatory tests are included:

  • Psychological test for special units;
  • Medical test;
  • Specific physical test;
  • Testing the shooting skills with weapons from SIAS equipment;
  • Training and adaptation course organized within SIAS.

Training

After completing the basic training, the SIAS operators are assigned to the intervention detachments, being on probation for another 6 months. During that time, they participate in the service’s missions and follow an intensive training program that aims to achieve and maintain a perfect physical, technical, and tactical form, which corresponds to the unit’s needs of multipurpose use.

Most of the time, SIAS operators use live ammunition in their training sessions, a rough reminder of their deadly trade. No mistakes are allowed, whether in training or a real mission.

SIAS operators at the shooting range
Romania’s SIAS operator during shooting practice at the unit’s shooting range (Photo: Romanian Police)

SIAS operators train daily. Their usual working day lasts for eight hours. The day usually starts with the gym training, where operators would seem exaggerated even to a performance athlete. However, it is a must for any SIAS member. The gym training is followed by long runs, hand-to-hand combat, rappeling from and into buildings or from helicopters, and daily shooting sessions with all the weapons in their arsenal.

Weaponry and Gear

The unit is equipped with most modern Western weapons, including Glock 17s, Heckler and Koch MP5 submachine guns, Steyr SSG rifles, and other modern equipment needed to get the job done.

Pyrotechnic Department of SIAS

The Pyrotechnic Department’s main duty is the intervention through specific methods and proceedings for preventing and countering crimes consisting of placing improvised explosive devices or trap vehicles in public or private places. It also identifies, neutralizes, and destroys specific proceedings improvised explosive devices and classic ammunition elements discovered in public or private places.

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