Victoria Police Special Operations Group (SOG) now ‘The Peacemakers’

They are known as the Special Operations Group but within police circles this secretive unit is referred to simply as “The Soggies” or “The Group”.

The Special Operations Group (SOG) is the police tactical group of the Victoria Police. The SOG unit is part of the Operations Support division of the Transit & Public Safety command, which falls under the Field Operations executive command.

The SOG responds to unplanned operational critical incidents such as sieges and siege hostage situations, armed offender tasks and bomb response incidents. They also assist operational police in planned operations involving apprehension of dangerous suspects.

Members of the Victoria Police SOG. Source: News Limited
Members of the Victoria Police SOG. Source: News Limited

An elite paramilitary style police garrison, these black-clad cops use special weaponry and train in advanced anti-terror tactics. They have been known to refer to themselves as the “Sons Of God”, a backronym made from the initials SOG.

From a corresponding Biblical passage — Matthew 5:9 — comes their other nickname: “The Peacemakers”.

The SOG is called in to handle heavy situations involving armed suspects, hostages and bomb scenes. The SOG use a variety of specialised weapons and equipment including variants of the M4 Carbine replacing previously issued F88 Austeyr, and the Heckler & Koch USP sidearm also chambered in .45 ACP calibre.

SOG officers in formation outside the Chaouk home during a separate incident to the Mohamed Chaouk shooting
SOG officers in formation outside the Chaouk home during a separate incident to the Mohamed Chaouk shooting

The Special Operations Group was formed in October 1977. Its main function was to provide a response to politically motivated and criminal terrorist activity. Today, this remains the number one priority for the Special Operations Group. The SOG is the Victoria Police equivalent of a full-time tactical (SWAT) team. Victorian SOG officers assisted the Tasmanian Special Operations Group during the infamous Port Arthur massacre in 1996.  SOG are currently equipped with an armoured vehicle known as the ‘Armet Balkan Mk7 tactical response vehicle’ for responding to potential terrorist threats or armed sieges. SOG took delivery of this vehicle in 2009 to replace their previous ageing armoured Land Rover. The previous armoured Land Rover was initially acquired in 1995 and is still in use with the critical incident response teams.

Terradyne Armored Vehicles Gurkha vehicle
Terradyne Armored Vehicles Gurkha vehicle

In April 2013 SOG took delivery of a Lenco BearCat armoured rescue vehicle provided by the Federal Government bringing Victoria in-line with other States and Territories who already have Bearcats.

Lenco BearCat armoured rescue vehicle
Lenco BearCat armoured rescue vehicle

The group’s members are not to be messed with, but some armed targets — in their wisdom — have, in days gone by, decided to defy their orders and threaten them. Those targets ended with fatal wounds.

In more recent years, however, the SOG has changed its tactics and adopted different methods to deal with armed offenders.

The group showed a new approach in May 2012 when, instead of storming a home to confront a notorious armed criminal, they waited him out before knocking him over with beanbag rounds — rather than blasting him with heavy-duty SG pellets.

Here are some historic examples where suspects threatened SOG members and paid the ultimate price for doing so. There were no winners in these fatal incidents which, history shows, have become a thing of the past.

Read more in The Australian.

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