The Directorate of Special Units
(DSU) is the Belgian Federal Police's Counter-Terrorism
unit. The DSU is deployed in cases of terrorism
, hostage taking and other forms of serious crime. In major terrorist operations outside the country, the DSU would be replaced by the Belgian Army Special Forces Group. The Federal Police's website says the DSU has a total of 430 personnel.
As the unit's commander, Eric Liévin, said, "a criminal dealing with the DSU, has a better chance of surviving than another; they try to use a minimal level of violence/force, and yet try to attain a maximum level of efficiency."<sup></sup>.
The DSU consists of an intervention unit, observation unit and a technical unit all stationed in the Police caserne in Etterbeek
, also the home of the Police Cavalry units and part of the general reserve. The unit believed to employ about 50 officers, all of which have a background as a sharpshooter
. Overall control of the DSU lies with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but depending on circumstances the unit can be deployed under operational control of the Ministry of Justice. Prior to 1994 the unit was commanded by the Ministry of Defense. Weapons in use include, among others, Glock 17
9mm pistols, Heckler & Koch MP5
9mm submachineguns, FN P90
5.7mm submachineguns, Remington 870
12 gauge shotguns, Accuracy International Arctic Warfare
and Sako TRG-21
7.62mm sniper rifles, Heckler & Koch HK69
40mm grenade launcher and FN 303
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