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Queensland Police Service celebrates 40 years of Disaster Victim Identification Squad

4/June/2021

Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services the Honourable Mark Ryan MP and Acting Deputy Commissioner Shane Chelepy attended a celebration today marking 40 years of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) Disaster Victim Identification Squad (DVIS).

Minister Ryan and Acting Deputy Commissioner Chelepy observed new DVIS members undertake the practical components of the five-day practitioners’ course at the Bob Atkinson Operational Capabilities Centre, Wacol.

Fifteen new squad members will now join a further 56 part-time members whose duties are to remove and identify the remains of deceased victims of major incidents, accidents, air disasters and natural disasters, in addition to their substantive policing roles. On occasion, they will also assist investigating police with homicides, suicides, traffic crashes, skeletal recovery and other situations where identification difficulties may arise.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Chelepy said the squad had come a long way in its 40 years.

“The Disaster Victim Identification Squad was formed on June 1, 1981, with an initial 45 members,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Chelepy said.

“We have 56 dedicated members ranging from Constables to Senior Sergeants who make ongoing and valuable contributions to not only the Queensland community, interstate and internationally but most importantly to the family and friends of disaster victims.”

Minister Ryan congratulated the 15 new members who will join the squad and work closely with other areas of the QPS, Queensland Health and the Australian Defence Forces.

“I understand that joining the Disaster Victim Identification Squad was not an easy decision to make,” Minister Ryan said.

“I commend all of you for making this choice to assist the Queensland community and all victims of disaster.

“You have shown courage and bravery, and I sincerely thank you for putting yourself forward for such a role within the Service.”

The Queensland Police DVIS have participated in major overseas and interstate deployments to assist in the disaster victim identification process, including:

  • 2002 Bali bombings
  • 2004 Thailand for the Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami
  • 2009 Victorian bushfires
  • 2011 Christchurch earthquake
  • 2014 Netherlands for the shooting down of MH17
  • 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings
  • 2019 Whakaari/White Island volcano eruption.

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