Operational Response Group (ORG): Timor-Leste

Operational Response Group (ORG): Timor-Leste

Introduction

The Operational Response Group (ORG) is a specialist unit within the Australian Federal Police International Deployment Group (IDG).

It has been deployed in Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste in response to rioting and urban disturbances, including a rapid deployment after the attempted assasination of Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta in February 2008 (Operation Comity).

AFP Operational Response Team
AFP Operations Response Team, Dili Port, June 2006

Government sources

2006

ORG Tactical Response Teams, Australian Federal Police (AFP) website

“The ORG provides an immediate high level response to support AFP international operations. TRT members are trained in a wide variety of skills and undertake a variety of duties including:

    • effect high risk searches, search warrants and arrests
    • support to public order policing
    • remote rural patrols
    • protection of people in high risk situations, and
    • support to the security of members deployed to mission.

“The ORG TRT deployed full teams in support of the 2006 AFP response to the Timor-Leste crisis. These members were involved in daily violence and incidents of civil disorder and lead many responses to maintain law and order.”

AFP’s role in capacity building and peace operations, International Deployment Group Fact Sheet, Australian Federal Police, 24 August 2006, p.6

“The [Operations Response Team] consists of approximately 30 fully trained police tactical operators which currently rotate through RAMSI, Timor-Leste and Australia…”

2008

Operation Comity – forces combine following assassination attempts, Australian Federal Police Platypus magazine No.99, July 2008

“[Following the attempted assassination of President Ramos-Horta] Manager of the ORG, Commander Steve Lancaster, says it was the first time the ORG had been deployed in a crisis response capacity since it was formed in February 2007. The ORG consists of 200 members and provides tactical policing capabilities and crisis response for national operations and international peacekeeping missions.

” ‘While the ORG maintains an ongoing commitment to the Participating Police Force under the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Operation Comity deployment presented the ORG with the opportunity to test its response capability and capacity,’ commander Lancaster said. ‘The ORG operated under the ISF to respond to incidents beyond the capability and capacity of the UNPol and allowed those security forces to concentrate their efforts on apprehending the fugitives’, he said.

The ORG returned to Australia on 21 March 2008 as the security environment stabilized and members of the rebel group were gradually surrendering.”

Speech to National Security Australia Conference, Minister for Home Affairs Bob Debus, Sydney, Thursday 6 March 2008

Our 1200 personnel in the International Deployment Group by June this year [2008] will include a 200 strong Operational Resources Group to respond quickly to new international situations, and stabilisation operations that require tactical responses. This Group was used last month, in response to a request for assistance from the Government of East Timor after the assassination attempts on the President and Prime Minister. Within 24 hours of receiving the request, the AFP had deployed 65 members of the Operational Response Group and 5 forensic specialists into Timor.”


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