Elite Flying Tigers to target mental strength

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 August, 1999, 12:00am

Police officers wanting to join the elite Flying Tigers will have to show they have brains as well as brawn under a new selection process.

More emphasis would be placed on mental attributes to eliminate advantages some officers might have gained by serving previously in other units with good fitness training, said Chief Inspector Dave Lewis, the Second Officer-in-Command of the Flying Tigers, or Special Duties Unit.

'All applicants should be physically fit and willing to serve for 2.5 years in the unit which stresses self-reliance, leadership, self-discipline and initiative,' Mr Lewis said.

Among the 44 officers who applied last year, only 14 were selected for the unit, which has more than 100 members responsible for the toughest jobs in the force, such as anti-terrorism.

Good eyesight and record of service, an ability to swim confidently on and below the surface and preferably experience with the Police Tactical Unit were among the necessary criteria for the Flying Tigers listed in the latest issue of the force newspaper, OffBeat.

Those who passed the four-day basic selection scheduled for November would then be given a five-week build-up course so candidates would be on an 'equal basis' before competing in a week-long advanced selection.

The new course concentrates on weapons handling and use, elementary close-quarter battle, camouflage and concealment, physical fitness, observation and commentary, first aid and map-reading.

Suitable candidates would then be admitted to a five-month course on advanced counter-terrorism training.

'Through this tough selection process, we're looking for officers with the right qualities and most important of all, the potential to be trained,' Mr Lewis said.

'That's why we haven't set a quota for our intake. It all depends on the number of 'right' guys we get.' Applications are open to men and women.

The unit's selection was shortened from between 10 and 14 days in the past to four days last year as the format proved to be successful.