Rescue and Bomb Unit

Coinciding with the 150 yeas of policing, the NSW Police Rescue & Bomb Disposal Unit (RBDU) will celebrate its 70th anniversary.

The unit was formed in 1942 as the Cliff Rescue Squad. In 1958, the role of Police Rescue Squad was expanded to include response to bushfires, floods, motor vehicle accidents and searches for missing persons. 

In 1998 the Police Rescue Squad joined the bomb disposal unit to form the RBDU. Significant events which the RBDU have responded include:

• Wanda Beach Murder Investigations 1966
• Cyclone Tracy 1971
• Granville Train Disaster 1977
• Newcastle Earthquake 1989
• Thredbo Landslide 1997
• Waterfall Train Disaster 2003

The RBDU is based in the Sydney Central Business district but with the support of country-based Rescue Units it is able to provide an around the clock response across NSW.

The RBDU is part of the State Protection Group within the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command of NSW Police Force.

RBDU capability includes:

Rescue Tasks
The RBDU has the primary accreditation by the State Rescue Board to provide general land and vertical rescue in Sydney CBD, eastern and inner-west suburbs. Some of the typical rescue work includes motor vehicle accident, rail and aircraft accidents, vertical and swift water rescue.

Bomb Disposal Operations
The RBDU provide bomb response support with the capability to appraise and render safe improvised explosive devices, vehicle and body bombs, chemical, biological and radiological devices as well as hazardous commercial explosives and gas cylinders.

Special Support Tasks 
The RBDU provide support to frontline police for special tasks that our outside the definition of the SERM Act. These tasks typically involve accessing dangerous and difficult to reach places and may include body and crime scene material recovery.

Search and Rescue Operations
In accordance with the National Search and Rescue Plan and State Disaster Plan, RBDU meets NSW Police Force’s obligations through the training and accreditation of Search and Rescue Coordinators and Team Leaders and the provision of experienced officers for police operations such as searches for missing persons, vehicles or unregistered aircrafts and searches for physical evidence in a land environment.