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Crime Down Under: Line of Fire

Format: 3 x 46

Who are the men behind the masks? This series takes viewers into the secretive world of the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS). Most people will only see the Armed Offenders Squad on the TV news – and will be thankful for that.

This elite squad is only called out in worst-case scenarios but since 2005 the AOS have attended over 600 incidents every year – and in the past year the number has leapt to over 750. The squad is a barometer of public safety and the black suits are coming out more and more these days.

How has violent crime changed in the 45 years since the inception of the Armed Offenders Squad – and what has been the human cost on both sides of the thin blue line? This series explores the untold stories behind some of the key moments in the war on crime, as told by the elite police officers that selflessly put themselves in the Line of Fire.

Episode One: Rules of Engagement

Who are the men in black who selflessly put themselves in the line of fire? In Rules of Engagement, the first episode of the three part documentary series Line of Fire, we get our first glimpse behind the balaclava and delve into the covert and controversial world that is the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS). Discover the genesis of this elite squad in the 1960s, the vital lessons learnt the hard way, and explore the conflicting reactions to the first fatal shootings in the 1970s.

Episode Two: Collateral Damage

To shoot or not to shoot? As the 1980’s dawn in Collateral Damage, the second episode of the three part documentary series Line of Fire, the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) is under public scrutiny like never before. Accused of being trigger-happy after several high-profile fatal shootings, squad members feel the pressure of making life-and-death decisions in a split second.  In a decade pockmarked with violent incidents, the worst would come at the beginning of the 1990’s, when a gunman went on a murderous rampage in a quiet seaside town.

Episode Three: Eye of the Storm

What price are we willing to pay to keep safe?  The personal toll of being in the line of fire is examined in Eye of the Storm, the third and final episode of Line of Fire.  Focusing on the unpredictable and increasingly volatile crime of the 1990s and 2000s, this episode reveals the changing face of armed offending and the huge impact it has had on the operations of the Armed Offenders Squads (AOS).  With frontline police now routinely carrying firearms and criminals presenting weapons with alarming regularity, what is the future of the highly-trained specialist AOS?

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