Specialist New South Wales Police officers will be armed with Colt M4 semi-automatic rifles from today as part of an increased capability to protect the community.
Proven in military combat operations all over the world, the Colt M4 carbine is a 5.56mm, light, accurate, combat weapon system with a manufacturer-claimed effective range of 600m.
47 officers from the NSW Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS) have completed training and have been issued with the first Colt M4 rifles as part of the initial roll-out.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Investigations and Special Tactics Dave Hudson said the rifles provided officers with greater strategic scope when responding to high-risk incidents.
“The rifles provide greater accuracy over distance and, when combined with evolving situations, they provide an additional layer of support for our officers,” Deputy Commissioner Hudson said.
“This rollout is part of the NSW Police Force’s plan to strengthen its response to terrorist violence by arming police outside of the Tactical Operations Unit (TOU) with military assault rifles.
“The deployment of these rifles complements the Active Armed Offender training undertaken by all operational officers.”
NSW Minister for Police Troy Grant welcomed the first stage of the rollout in the lead up to one of Sydney’s busiest periods – Christmas and New Year celebrations.
“The unfortunate reality of terror attacks around the world means there is a growing acceptance within the community that we need heavily-armed police able to be deployed when and where they are needed,” Mr Grant said.
“These new firearms are certainly going to change the image of our Public Order and Riot Squad, but it is all in the name of giving our police the necessary resources to respond to an ever-changing crime environment.”
By June next year all PORS officers will have completed their training with the new firearms. Each officer will be required to undergo re-accreditation training twice a year.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said PORS officers had undergone rigorous training in order to be armed with the rifles on the streets of Sydney.
“This is an additional capability that will provide greater support for officers responding to high-risk incidents and ensure increased community safety,” Commissioner Fuller said.
“The community can expect to see officers carrying these weapons in public on occasion, whilst other times, the weapons will be close at hand.
“In the current environment, we recognise the need to be both proactive and responsive and to dispatch tactical police from multiple locations to where they are needed.
“I don’t want the public to feel confronted, but I want them not only be safe, but to also feel safe.
“Support from the NSW community is an important part of keeping NSW safe against acts of terrorism.
“There are a number of ways individuals and communities can prevent and prepare for emergencies.
“Members of the public are encouraged to visit secureNSW, the official NSW Government site for Counter Terrorism Information – www.secure.nsw.gov.au