Rescue & Bomb Disposal Unit


NSW Police Rescue & Bomb
Disposal Unit

For 60 years now, the NSW Police Rescue Unit has been serving the community, tackling difficult and often dangerous rescue situations and helping people caught in often traumatic circumstances. In that time, the Unit’s name has changed four times and the range of jobs has broadened to all manner of rescues and incidents. It is estimated that police rescue has attended around 300,000 jobs in the past 60 years.

Police in the Rescue Unit volunteer to carry out emergency tasks which are beyond the resources and capabilities of other police. They are highly trained in the use of specialist emergency equipment for the most challenging rescue tasks.

Our Rescue Unit has an international reputation for the calibre and experience of its personnel and the high quality and effectiveness of it’s equipment.

Formed in 1942, the Rescue Unit was originally established as the “Cliff Rescue Squad” to retrieve injured people from cliff bases along the NSW coastline. The war years had seen an increase in the number of people threatening and committing suicide from cliff tops and the extra demand on police resources led to the creation of the new specialised Squad.

Over the years, the role of the Cliff Rescue Squad changed dramatically, with officers attending all types of rescue situations and assisting police with a wide range of operations. The word “Cliff” was dropped from the title in 1960, and the Rescue Unit now offers the community of NSW a fully responsive rescue facility.

Based in the Zetland Police Complex at 81 Portman Street, the Rescue Unit HQ is responsible generally for the inner Sydney area and the eastern suburbs. Units are also located in the Wollongong, Newcastle, Blue Mountains, Goulburn, Cooma, Lismore and Bathurst Districts.

There are now 31 Police Rescue operators, trained to use equipment such as metal detectors, trapped person locaters, an emergency power truck, mobile field kitchen and mobile field command bus with sophisticated communication equipment. These officers are expert in abseiling, climbing, single rope techniques and stretcher escorts with cliff machines.
Some of the Rescue Unit’s responsibilities and challenges include:

  • Rescuing people trapped in difficult high or deep places such as mines, storm-water drains, cliffs, scaffolding and remote places.
  • Rescuing people involved in industrial, traffic, railway and aircraft accidents or who may have become trapped in household equipment, machinery or playground equipment.
  • Providing power or lighting in emergencies or for police operations
  • Rescuing livestock and animals in accidents
  • Working in toxic or hazardous environments

In addition to all of the above, the Rescue Unit also provides support to general police operations and general advice on proposed safety and rescue plans to private industry.