SIPA and its Special Support Unit is one of the youngest special forces units in Bosnia and Herzegovina law enforcement. They were drafted with one goal – to counter-terrorism and organized crime on the state level. SIPA stands for State Investigation and Protection Agency and it is considered as the most successful police agency in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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 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 were dealing with dangerous persons, war criminals, kingpins, members of organized crime, drug dealers and all other bad guys.
In 2005, the agency created its own special unit named “Jedinica za specijalističku podršku” which stands for “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 the most elite in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From 2005 to now, they accomplished a few thousands of raids and dangerous arrests.
They are made from three teams, Alpha, Beta, and Gama. The first two teams are ordinary SWAT teams with offensive tactics, and the third one Gama, besides ordinary tasks, has specialties like Scuba Diving, Sky Diving, alpine climbing.
Today, SIPA’s Special Support Unit represents a respectable security factor in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the region and beyond which reinforces its commitment to continue development to meet future security challenges. Of course, with the help of their Western partners including the United States.
SIPA’s operations of apprehension of war crime suspects, successful investigations of criminal offenses of money laundering, organized crime, terrorism, unauthorized trafficking in drugs, illicit trafficking in weapons, human trafficking, and other criminal offenses, as well as providing witness support and protection, successful performance of duties and tasks related to the protection of VIPs and buildings, the establishment of the Special Support Unit, are only some of the facts confirming SIPA’s achievements to date.
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 a 7-days course, and only the toughest are welcomed to join the unit. After the new members enter the unit, they are newbie’s, which means that they are not involved in operations for six months after they join. In those 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.
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.
The special support unit is equipped with various weapons. From assault rifles, 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.