The South African Police Service (SAPS) has issued a tender for counterterrorism response vehicles equipped with hazmat suits, decontamination tanks, radiation detectors and other equipment able to deal with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) situations.
This is according to Times Live, which reported last week that a tender worth R25 million was issued in March for ten vehicles and closed earlier this month. Conventional panel vans will be outfitted with the necessary equipment.
“The tender documents state that police will supply the bulk of the specialist equipment as well as the ten Nissan NV350 panel vans to the successful bidder. According to bid documents, five companies had made bids for the tender to convert the vans,” Times Live reports.
Some of the other equipment to be fitted includes decontamination chemicals, ladders, spot-lights and a public announcement system.
The vehicles, which will be allocated to the Explosive Unit, will also be used to assist the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management Division and Forensic Services.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has also invested in CBRN equipment, with the South African Military Health Service able to respond to such incidents.
The SAPS has been slowly improving its capabilities, for instance over the last five years it has taken delivery of bomb disposal robots from companies such as Med-Eng, and is upgrading other big items of equipment such as riot control vehicles.
On 10 February the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) showcased three newly acquired RG-12 Nyala lightly armoured vehicles acquired from Denel Land Systems at a cost of R6.9 million. They are operated by the new public order unit of the TMPD.
In 2013, then police minister Nathi Mthethwa authorised the training of Metro Police officers to handle public disorder, including riots, and since then 250 TMPD officers have been trained in riot control, reports Engineering News. They are equipped with riot shields, bulletproof vests and other mission specific items.
“The TMPD finds itself having to respond to and prevent land invasions, especially of city-owned land. Responding to land invasions requires the use of minimum force allowed in law,” said TMPD spokesperson senior superintendent Isaac Mahamba.
The Nyala can accommodate 12 people, including the driver.
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