Beijing Special Weapons and Tactics Unit (SWAT)

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The Beijing Special Weapons and Tactics Unit (Abbreviation: SWAT; Simplified Chinese: 北京特警总队; also known as Beijing Special Police Force) is a police unit in the People’s Republic of China that deals with incidents beyond the capabilities of normal patrol officers such as hostage situations, high risk warrants and riot control. The unit, along with the Snow Wolf Commando Unit, is tasked with many of the security responsibilities of the 2008 Summer Olympics. It is reputed to be the most well-equipped and well-trained of all the SWAT/Special Police Units in the PRC.

History

The Beijing SWAT unit and the Snow Wolf Commando Unit were unveiled in a demonstration at the Beijing Police Academy in April 27th, 2006 as part of a public relations effort to illustrate the capabilities of the People’s Armed Police to deal with terrorism issues, protection of delegates, and to enforce law and order in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Organization

The Beijing SWAT Unit is divided into sub-units consisting of but not limited to: a Helicopter Unit (飞虎队; nicknamed Flying Tigers), an Underwater Diving team (蛙人; nicknamed Frogmen), a female officers Special Police Unit (女子特警) and a K-9 Unit (警犬).

Role

Typically expected of a SWAT-type unit from any country will be the role of a tactical response team to handle hostage-rescue, high-risk warrants, VIP or dangerous criminal escort duties and sometimes counter-terrorism duties. The Beijing SWAT unit is no exception, however they are also in charge of riot control as well as other duties.

Weapons and Equipment

The unit is armed with a variety of domestically manufactured weapons such as Type 85 sub-machine guns and QSZ-92 pistols, although they are also known to have purchased a mixture of American and European equipment to further augment their capabilities such as EOTech holographic weapon sights, battering rams, pepper spray, ballistic shields among others.

Vehicles

In preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the local government has allocated CNY 500 million (approximately US$ 63.5 million) for the Beijing SWAT team to procure equipment for their operations, some of which has gone into purchasing specialist vehicles for various duties. These vehicles include the American made Hummer and Ford assault vehicles, and Mercedes escort vehicles, just to name a few.

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