All was calm and quiet as the “principal” stepped out of his vehicle to be greeted by Police Working Dog Handler, Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Dean Hedberg, and escorted to a police working dog demonstration of Army’s emerging narcotics detection capability.
CAPTION: 1st Military Police Battalion’s Private Alex Penfold and Police Working Dog Bella detain Lance Corporal Joshua Wilkinson while he wears a bite suit during Exercise Archibald at Wide Bay Training Area, Queensland. Story by Captain Evita Ryan. Photo by Sergeant Andrew Eddie.
Flanked by 1st Military Police Battalion members who were conducting close personal protection training as part of Exercise Archibald at the Wide Bay Training Area’s Urban Operations Training Facility, the principal was completely unaware that a sniper had him in his sights from his vantage point at the top of a nearby tower.
Within seconds of Police Working Dog Bandit locating a scent on a vehicle as part of the narcotics detection dog demonstration, gunfire erupted and the close personal protection team immediately reacted to the attack by closing in around the principal and moving him towards cover.
While the principal was ushered into the nearest building, down a stairwell and along an underground tunnel to a safe extraction point, the remaining close personal protection team engaged the enemy.
Deploying smoke grenades and decoys, the close personal protection team was able to safely extract the principal into the awaiting vehicles, with the remaining personnel securing the area before calling in 1st Military Police Battalion’s forensic scenes of crime examiners.
CAPTION: Private Sulaiman Chowdhry, from the 1st Military Police Battalion, captures photographic evidence of a crime scene during the forensic scene of crime training component of Exercise Archibald in Brisbane. Photo by Private Flash Storey.
With the training scenario’s role players replaced with mannequins, the battalion’s forensics specialists applied the forensic scenes of crime training that they had completed the week before to exploit the scene, collect and document evidence and report on the outcome of their investigation.
After almost two weeks of training activities in Brisbane, Oakey and Wide Bay, the Commanding Officer of 1st Military Police Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Ben Respondek, said the culminating activity for Exercise Archibald provided a unique opportunity to practise their specialist capabilities in close personal protection, police working dogs and forensics as part of an integrated military policing force element.
“We don’t get to do this too often because we’re based around the country, with personnel in almost every state and territory,” Lieutenant Colonel Respondek said.
“To come together in one place at the same time is a real treat as it gives us a chance to refine our skills in a collective way.”
Exercise Archibald also gave the 1st Military Police Battalion the opportunity to work alongside Air Force members from No. 2 Security Forces Squadron as well as military members from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and Papua New Guinea Defence Force.
CAPTION: Corporal Wilfred Winston from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces takes notes while conducting a crime scene examination. Photo by Sergeant Andrew Eddie.
“We’ve also been lucky to have a federal member of parliament participating as our close personal protection ‘principal’ in this exercise under the ADF Parliamentary Programme,” Lieutenant Colonel Ben Respondek said.
With specialist capabilities that are unique to Army, 1st Military Police Battalion used Exercise Archibald as an opportunity to practise and assure those capabilities.
“Our capabilities are tailored to specific operational requirements to enhance the broader land force as well as the joint force,” Lieutenant Colonel Respondek said.
“Each year we continue to modernise our workforce by introducing and refining complementary technologies during Exercise Archibald.”