Police fortress on wheels

March 17
[ED NOTE: What are the Tasmanian police preparing for that they need a battle wagon this heavily armed?]

TASMANIAN police will ride in style with a new $400,000 battlewagon, provided by the Federal Government, now part of their armoury.

The 10-tonne BearCat tactical armoured-security vehicle can stop a .50 calibre machinegun round, protect its occupants from a bomb blast and has multiple gun ports.

It carries up to 10 police in airconditioned comfort behind bulletproof glass at speeds of up to 145km/h and can be fitted with a battering ram, thermal cameras and spotlights. Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon announced that NSW, Queensland and Tasmania would receive the vehicles later this year.

The vehicle’s US manufacturers Lenco boast it is ideal for “dangerous law-enforcement and military operations such as close-quarter battle engagements, citizen rescue and personnel/cargo delivery missions”.

Tasmania Police yesterday declined to talk about their new toy but the SWAT Trucks website was filled with glowing testimonials from US officers.

Warren County Sheriff’s Office SWAT commander Roger Vorous said: “It’s big enough to go through a house if it had to.”

And Pasadena, California, officer John Dewar said it was useful in armed standoffs.

“We could ride into the hot zone to drop off officers or pick people up and get them out of the hot zone,” he said.

A BearCat shrugged off 35 rounds from an AK47 assault rifle when Texas police faced a deranged killer.

The gunports also had peaceful purposes, Officer Dustin Gomez said. “You can pass food through those slots,” he explained.

The BearCats will be built to order as part of a National Counter-Terrorism Committee project.

Ms Roxon said: “These vehicles are state of the art and are designed to be used in high-risk situations such as hostage incidents or acts of terrorism.”

The ACT, the Northern Territory and South Australia received their BearCats in the second quarter of last year.


2 Responses to “Police fortress on wheels”

  1. What are they used for? Don’t you watch the news?

    Every State in Australia has a police armoured vehicle, and has had some form of armoured land-rover or similar for decades. The Bearcat simply replaces the ageing armoured van the Tasmanian Police SOG has.

    Tactical police use them to approach siege situations and other armed offender situations in safety. More often than not they allow a police negotiator to get close to a house where an armed gunman may be to begin/continue negotiations from safety.

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