The US Embassy in Pretoria says a group police Special Task Force commandos are currently in the United States to brush up on crisis response skills and undergo “special forces training”.

“The five-week Crisis Response Training is to provide the tactical officers with skills required to resolve high risk confrontations with criminals and possible terror situations,” says embassy spokeswoman Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau. The officers will be equipped with skills they could use with the focus on the minimum force necessary to protect human life, she adds.

These include hands-on outdoor firearms training, raid and assault simulations, as well as other standard crisis response skills for use in an urban environment. “This training represents a continuation of the US government’s commitment to partnership with South Africa,” said deputy ambassador Helen La Lime in a media statement. “Our partnership with the SAPS [South African Police Service] is robust, and this training reflects our solid bilateral relationship. We look forward to pursuing more partnership opportunities.”

SAPS Special Task Force spokesman Brigadier Lucky Mkhwanazi added hat the “training recognises the calibre of our elite Special Task Force officers and also the solid relationship in law enforcement South Africa has with the United States.”

It is at last the third such cooperation this year. In March a group of SAPS and South African National Defense Force (SANDF) officers received “certificates of participation” in a three-week training programme designed to enhance their ability to respond to incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) materials in the run-up to the June-July World Cup.

“This course prepares the students to execute fundamental hazardous material and emergency management and response procedures that can mitigate loss of life in a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) or hazardous material incident,” the embassy said at the time. Course topics and activities included a focus on human rights, trends in terrorism, explosive device awareness, toxic industrial chemicals and materials, CBR risk assessment and awareness, crime scene issues, chemical hazard detection and prediction, triage, search and rescue operations and equipment maintenance.

Source: Leon Engelbrecht for

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