A police tactical unit (PTU) is a specialized, highly-trained police
unit that responds to and resolves high-risk incidents, including
terrorist incidents.[Note 1]
Police tactical units can be
part of a:
police force under the authority of civilian officials; or
Gendarmerie-style police force under the authority of civilian
officials (Interior Ministry) and/or the Defence Ministry that may
have formal military status.
In the United States, most police tactical units are known by the
generic term of
Special Weapons And Tactics
Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team. In
Australia, police tactical units are formally known as a police
tactical group. The
European Union uses the term Special
Intervention Unit to define national counter terrorist police tactical
Police tactical units have similarities to military special forces /
special operations forces units such as organisation, selection,
training, equipment, and operational methodologies. For
"certain counter terrorism operations, such as hostage rescue, there
is a significant convergence of roles, tactics and force when employed
in either an armed conflict or policing role". Aside from
counter-terrorism hostage rescue, the roles of police and military
units differ in that the role of military units can result in the use
of the maximum permissible force against enemy combatants while the
role of police units is to use only minimal force sufficient to subdue
suspected criminals, including negotiation.
1 See also
3 Further reading
4 External links
Police Tactical Units
^ Academic literature from North America has used the term Police
Paramilitary Unit (PPU) to describe a police tactical unit.
^ a b Australia-New Zealand Counter-
Terrorism Committee (2017). Active
Armed Offender Guidelines for Crowded Places (PDF). Commonwealth of
Australia. p. 3. ISBN 9781925593976. Retrieved 30 September
^ a b c d e Alvaro, Sam. Tactical law enforcement in Canada; an
exploratory survey of Canadian police agencies (PDF) (Thesis).
Carleton University. ISBN 9780612484191. Retrieved 25 May
^ Rantatalo, Oscar (2013). Sensemaking and organising in the policing
of high risk situations: focusing the Swedish
Counter-Terrorist Unit (PDF) (Thesis). Umeå: Department of Education,
Umeå University. ISBN 9789174596991. Retrieved 25 May
^ On the improvement of cooperation between the special intervention
units of the Member States of the
European Union in crisis
situations, Council Decision No. 2008/617/JHA of 23 June 2008.
Retrieved on 26 May 2017.
^ "Tactical Response and Operations Standard for Law Enforcement
Agencies" (PDF). National Tactical Officers Association. September
2015. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
^ North Atlantic Treaty Organization (17 November 2015). "NATO
Glossary of Terms and Definitions" (PDF) (in English and French).
AAP-06 (Edition 2016). Brussels: NATO Standardization Agency.
Retrieved 26 May 2017.
^ Alexander, John B (July 2010). "4: Comparison between SOF and Law
Enforcement Agencies". Convergence:
Special Operations Forces and
Civilian Law Enforcement (PDF) (Report). JSOU report 10-6. MacDill Air
Force Base, Florida: Joint
Special Operations University (JSOU) Press.
pp. 48–62. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
^ Watkin, Kenneth (2016). Fighting at the legal boundaries:
controlling the use of force in contemporary conflict. New York:
Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190457976.
^ Newburn, TimPeter; Neyroud, Peter (2013). Dictionary of Policing.
Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. p. 187. ISBN 9781843922872.
^ Diane Cecilia Weber (1999). Warrior Cops: The Ominous Growth of
Paramilitarism in American
Police Departments (PDF). Washington: Cato
Institute. p. 3. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
Katz, Samuel M. (1995). The Illustrated Guide to the World's Top
Counter-Terrorist Forces. Hong Kong: Concord Publication Company.
Media related to
Police tactical units at