Special Police Unit of Montenegro (SPU)

The elite unit of the Police Directorate. A great number of successfully realized interventions built up trust of the citizens and state officials, and confirms the quality of training conducted in the unit as well.

FOUNDATION AND PURPOSE


Unit`s insignia

Complex security situations on the former Yugoslav territory to whom a federation of Republic of Serbia and Montenegro were facing after armed conflicts during 90s, led former state leaders of Montenegro to create environment for organizing a new police unit with specially trained and equipped operators, match to stand against the most complex security challenges. It was deemed for a new unit to be smaller in strength, at a company level. On January 16 1998, as the organizational unit of the Police Directorate

A step ahead of others!
Pride and honor!
of Montenegro established was Special Police Unit-SPU. A team of versatile instructors from the country organized and carried out selection and training of the first generation of police officers who, at the moment, met the strict criteria and were enrolled to the SPU ranks. Also, a significant part of the training was realized at training centers in Serbia, especially at one in Kula, where operators of the Montenegrin SPU along with colleagues from Serbia practiced elements of special actions, such as urban alpinism techniques and their implementations in vertical buildings breaching and the like. Special Police Unit during its existence was adapting its systematization to meet defined purpose, and needs of the state security system as well. During 2006, after the Referendum being held and Montenegro leaved the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, a meticulous reorganization of the Special Police Unit was undertaken.



Today Special Police Unit, as the Police Directorate organization unit of the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro is specially trained and equipped for:

-planning, organizing and conducting actions to fight organized crime and terrorism at tactical level
-tasks of establishing disturbed public order in wider volume, or at broader areas
-securing public events and manifestations of high risk
-protecting infrastructure of special significance to the state
-providing assistance in cases of natural disasters and other accidents of broader volume
-participating in military-police missions in areas of crisis
-operational tactical cooperation with organization units of the MoI of Montenegro
-other tasks, jobs and actions within the jurisdiction of the MoI of Montenegro

The activation of Special Police Unit`s capacities is undertaken on the suggestion of Police Directorate Director (or deputy), along with the preceding approval of the minister of interior (or deputy). The concretization of an activity is done according to the case needs, under the order of the Special Police Unit Command.

ORGANIZATION

Buildings breaching gear configuration

The unit is settled within Special Units Campus at Zlatica, near the capital city of Podgorica. The camp is equipped with a modern gym, sport fields, palaestra, infantry range with obstacles, shooting room, killing house and climbing tower suitable for practicing elements of climbing, as well anti-terrorist actions.

According to the present systematization SPU of the Montenegro has Command with Instructor Team in charge of planning, organizing and conducting selection of the candidates, training of the operators in country and abroad, gear and armament purchases and other activities within the unit. Commander duties are entrusted to Dragan Blagojevic at the moment. Logistics Team cares about procurements and resources and funds using.

The operational element gathers around 130 operators and is organized in two parts, similar to gendarmerie units. One is specialized and intended for conducting the most complex activities within fighting organized crime and terrorism at tactical level, while the other operational part is intended for tasks, jobs and actions of providing and/or establishing public order and peace. The most elite operational elements are considered the first and the second Action Platoon that enroll the most experienced operators, trained to operate in urban and rural environments. Platoons have four tactical teams each, capable and equipped to carry tasks independently, or in coordination with other platoons of the unit. Depending on needs in concrete, platoons can activated to provide assistance and/or support to the operators of the third and the fourth platoon when establishing disrupted public order in wider scope. The third and fourth platoons are specialized for jobs and tasks of establishing disrupted public order and peace, securing public events and manifestations of greater risk, as well of providing support to the other platoons in the sense of conducting wider or narrower blockades of areas of action, but also in the case of ongoing counter terrorist activities. The Forth Platoon is specialized and within enlists Cavalry Police Team, as well as Specialized Vehicles Team. During interventions, platoons of the Special Police Unit can be enforced with K9s from the K9 Handler Team of the Border Police Sector. Security of the base is entrusted to the Security Team of the Training Center of Special Police Unit.

Within operational element of the Special Police Unit operate several females who participate in activities conducting besides their male colleagues, occasionally in providing medical care or actions of searching women during interventions.

SELECTION AND TRAINING

For workplace selection in the Special Police Unit can apply only active officers of the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro who completed the basic police training course and stand out performing duties, which should be confirmed through their officers` recommendations. Having in mind type of activities carried out in the Special Police Unit, it is favorable for candidates to have some field work experience.

The first phase is organized under the almost general mechanism in the world. Willing candidates must submit needed documentation in a defined deadline. Details related to needed papers as well as deadline itself are announced within the issue about workplace selection for the unit. After deadline set, security check of candidates who submitted needed files is undertaken. Those marked as clear in the moment of applying are called up for checks of physical readiness of elimination type, and candidates undergo a special psychological test as well. Candidates who meet the criteria are enlisted for a specialized medical check in order to find out whether they are of good health, bearing in mind the intensity of physical effort and psychological stress they will be exposed to during the selection and training process, as well as conducting service duties and tasks. In the case of a positive evaluation from doctors, one is admitted for a drill lasting for four weeks. During this period one`s willing to become a SPU operator and carry a black beret of the unit is put under the stress. Similar to practices in elite foreign units, the drill flow is designed in order to bring candidates to limits of their physical endurance and test their determination, motivation, and the ability of tactical response during stressful situations and the like. Under the supervision of instructors intense tactical and topographical marches are conducted, along with combat running daily. In addition, theoretical lectures and elements of training in urban and rural environment are conducted along with intense physical checks.



During these four weeks all the activities are carried out in full combat gear and candidates are obliged not to separate from their personal armament. Personal gear of every candidate in this phase is enlisted of the assault rifle Zastava M70 AB2 with foldable buttstock in 7.62x39 mm caliber and semi-automatic handgun CZ 99 in 9x19 mm Para caliber, combat vest from the Mile Dragic producer, as well as ballistic helmet MD M 97 of the same producer. The peak of the drill is the 35 km march through rough terrain in full combat set weighting about 35 kilograms.

At the end of the drill, team of instructors analyzes results of every candidate and in a group meeting along with commander and officers of the unit makes decision about enrolling of the candidates who achieved the best results. Candidates who did not meet the criteria are being returned to their units. Newbies of the Special Police Unit are directed to a workplace within the operational element of the unit, according to available workplaces defined by the ongoing systematization, but also considering their affinities and skills and knowledge demonstrated. The intensity of newbies training is very high, so they are enrolled for various courses in training centers in the country and abroad, so that in a rationalized period of time became trained to effectively carry out defined activities. The plan and program of training for Special Police Unit of Montenegrin Police Directorate operators include training in firearms handling,



tactical and precision shooting in all conditions, precision shooting at medium distances[1], special physical training, special actions training in urban and rural surroundings, as well as training necessary for carrying out tasks and jobs of preserving public order and peace, and protecting infrastructure of special importance. A part of physical training of the SPU operators is devoted to martial arts practicing, such as boxing, kick boxing, aikido and judo. The quality of training is confirmed by the fact that the SPU operator Predrag Radoshevic is a triple champion of the former Yugoslavia in boxing, junior WBC champion of the world for the year 2006 (under 23 year category), Silver International WBC, International IBF and the best sportsman of Montenegro in 2006.

WEAPONRY AND GEAR

Special Police Unit possesses modern armament and gear, and unit`s commando, along with given ministry puts vast effort in order to provide the best working environment possible.

In the handgun category, primary models used by the operators are Austrian Glock 17 of third generation, in 9 mm caliber. The unit also possesses a contingent of CZ 99 handguns, also in 9 mm caliber, as well as models CZ M75, M85 and M100, all in 9x19 mm Parabellum caliber. For lowered carry tactical leg holsters were purchased from manufacturers Mile Dragic, as well as Safariland compatible with Austrian models.

In the submachine category Special Police Unit possesses German HK MP5 in A2 models with fixed buttstock and A3 with telescopic ones, all in 9x19 mm. For the needs of the units purchased were tactical lights Surefire, mounted on these SMGs. Compactness, reliable system and accuracy of the German models made them an excellent choice for the needs of anti-terrorist actions in urban surroundings. The unit also possesses a number of personal defense weapons Zastava M84A Scorpio in 7.65x17 mm caliber.

In the assault rifles category operators use models Zastava M70 AB2 in 7.62 mm caliber, with Kalashnikov system, of the Zastava Arms producer from Serbia. During 2013, the unit increased its capacities by purchasing a contingent of HK G36 C assault rifles, chambered for 5.56x45 mm NATO. The rifles were ordered in the configuration with assault grips of the same manufacturer, as well as with the buttstock which is telescopic[2] and foldable, with adjustable cheek rest.

For the precision shooting, operators use German HK PSG 1 A1 chambered for 7.62x51 mm NATO. Mentioned models are adapted to the needs of precision shooting by mounting optic sight Schmidt & Bender and telescopic foldable bipod. Used are models HK G3 in semi-automatic variants as well, in .308 Winchester caliber, as well as Israeli Galatz Galil ARM in 7.62x51 mm NATO.

For providing support, or cases when greater firepower is needed, used are light machine guns Zastava M84 in 7.62x54 R caliber.

Ballistic protection during intervention is provided by wearing ballistic helmets MD M97 made over PASGT design. The helmets provide IIIA level of ballistic protection according to standard NIJ 0106.01. Third-level protection of the torso is provided by wearing ballistic vests. When conducting breaches into building, hand ballistic shields from Mile Dragic producer can be used, purchased for the needs of the Special Police Unit in configuration with ballistic visor and tactical lights. These shields provide IIIA level of protection acc. NIJ STG 0101.04. When conducting interventions operators wear tactical vests of various manufacturers. Used are vests from Mile Dragic in black and rural digital camo, as well as reliable Galati models and BLACKHAWK! Omega Elite Tactical Vest 1, all in black. Used are models of the national producer Security Guard Montenegro as well, in rural camouflage pattern, which can be, of course, used when conducting actions in rural surroundings. Elbow and knee protection is provided with pads purchased from BLACKHAWK! In various models, and Hatch XTAK as well, mostly in black color.



For the needs of tasks and jobs of securing and/or establishing disrupted public order and peace special gear config is used. The configuration of the SPU operators mostly is consisted of anti-trauma vests purchased from Mile Dragic Serbian producer, while head protection is achieved with intervention helmets of white color with a flat visor, from the same producer. Protective gear of the operators is completed with pads for forearms, crouches and lower legs, as well with light transparent shields made from composite materials.

Uniforms used in the Special Police Unit are in accordance with standards defined in the Decree about Uniforms, Rank Tags and Armament of the Montenegrin Police Officers[3]. In the intervention uniforms category main in use are two-pieced uniforms Tactical One of the Mile Dragic producer in digital urban and rural camouflage pattern. In use is also a contingent of camouflage overalls mostly intended for selections of candidates or demonstrations of special physical training of the operators. Within special gear category of the SPU operators can be enlisted Motorola communication devices in several models, pyrotechnics of various purposes, gear needed for conducting dynamic buildings or transports breaching, as well as in barricaded buildings and the like.

KNOWN ACTIONS

Successors of the famous Montenegrin Gendarmerie, honesty and heroism of the ancestors, operators of the Special Police Unit annually carry out over 700 interventions of various types. The capacities of the Special Police Unit were activated during the operation “Eagle Flight”, when individuals suspected for terrorist activities preparations were arrested, within operations against organized crime such as “Balkan Warrior”, “Trio”, “Green Mile”, “Stamp”, “Thunder”, “Parangal”, “Loptica”, “Star”. SPU operators are regularly activated within tasks and jobs of guarding the Airport in Podgorica, as well as US Embassy, while during summer season they undertake increased patrolling through tourist centers in the country.

COOPERATION WITH OTHER UNITS

A big attention in the process of training and professional development is given for experience exchange with the units in the country, from the region and abroad. Special Police Unit maintains excellent cooperation with the Special Anti-terrorist Unit of the Montenegro, shares the base and conducts training almost daily. A significant part of winter training is carried out in cooperation with the Army of Montenegro, Mountain Battalion in concrete. The training includes skiing and policemen and soldiers several times practices elements of mountain warfare and rescue actions tactics. In cooperation with the Ministry of Defence joint trainings are organized as a part of preparations for participation in the ISAF missions in Afghanistan[3]. Intensive professional cooperation is maintained with the units from Serbia, based on the Protocol of Cooperation Between Police of Montenegro and Serbia from 2004 and other political agreements of two countries. Joint training was carried out with colleagues from Gendarmerie, SAU and CTU. In region Special Police Unit established professional cooperation with the Anti-terrorist Unit Luchko from Croatia, as well as with units from Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially with the Special Police Unit of the Republic of Srpska. Good relations are maintained with the Romanian Gendarmerie.

A number of SPU operators completed ILEA training of the FBI Regional Center for East Europe in Budapest, and unit attended International Terrorism Conference in Maribor in Slovenia as well.

The goal of the Police Directorate is to in the future, through realization of the Partnership`s Goals, expand the purpose and capacities of the Special Police Unit by implementing new specializations in accordance with EU standards, so that unit would have been able to participate peace keeping missions all across the world, within international police teams.

[1] The plan and program for SPU operators includes courses of long range precision shooting, which are, as a rule, organized for the operators of specialist groups.
[2] It can be fixed in four positions.
[3] “Official Courier of MN”, no. 44/12, 36/13 and 1/15.
[4] In September 2012, operators of the CTU within Advisory police teams participated in ISAF mission in Afghanistan, in order to provide professional assistance to the officers of the National Police of Afghanistan.

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