An Extraordinary History


tags: Police Rescue, Bomb Disposal, NSW Police,

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By Jason Byrnes

From the September 2017 issue of the APJ.

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the New South Wales Police Force's Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit (RBDU). Known for much of its existence as the Police Rescue Squad or just Police Rescue (thanks to an ABC Television series of that name in the 1990s), the Sydney-based RBDU and its network of decentralised rescue units located throughout NSW, is unique among Australia's police forces.

The women and men who don their distinctive white overalls support the NSW Police Force and the wider community by tackling diverse challenges, many of which are high-risk, unpleasant and dangerous. These include recovering decomposing bodies from difficult-to-access locations, rescuing people trapped in crashed vehicles or industrial machinery accidents, dismantling and disposing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), flying so-called drones in support of police operations, or coordinating search and rescue missions.

Since the unit's earliest days of operations its members have prided themselves on being able to meet any challenge. In 1976 the unit's then Officer-in-Charge, Sergeant Ray Tyson, told the media 'in police rescue, there is no such word as can't. It CAN be done.' Even a cursory review of the unit's history affirms these words to be demonstrably true - a proven legacy of police overcoming often horrendous obstacles to help those in need.

This article complements a book that is about to be released that details the extraordinary history of NSW's police rescue operators and bomb technicians. 

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