This is the first in a series of articles looking at the insignia worn by various African nation’s airborne and special operations units. Please like and follow the page to be kept updated of future installments.
The Special Reserve Force (SRF) is a specialist SWAT type unit within the Namibian Police Force (Nampol), tasked with responding to high risk operations that cannot be handled by conventional police units. It is based on the South African Police Service Special Task Force (which will be the subject of a future article). The SRF were initially designated the title Special Task Force when first raised as an adjunct to the Namibian Police Special Field Force, a somewhat notorious paramilitary police unit, that at the time was comprised largely of ex combatants from the former People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the military wing of SWAPO and former South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) personnel. In 1996 the Nampol Special Task Force was disbanded but then reformed in the late 1990’s, early 2000 and renamed the Special Reserve Force. The unit, which is also sometimes referred to as the Special Reserve Force Division (SRFD) operates out of the National Police Headquarters at Windhoek and is believed to number around 300 personnel. Working alongside other agencies, their role includes crowd control, VIP protection, hostage resolution, counter terrorism plus search and rescue operations.
Nambian Police Special Reserve Force Division members showing the various tasks undertaken by the SRF during a visit to the Groot Aub Junior Secondary School south of Windhoek in March 2017. Note the ‘interesting’ contraband items on display. Photo: Dirk Heinrich
Members of the Namibian Police Special Reserve Force Division deployed to regain control in the town of Okakarara after a group of residents stormed the police station on 12 August 2018. Photo: Namibian Broadcasting Corporation News
Members of the Nampol Special Reserve Force equipped for crowd control duties.
Operators from the Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) of the Nampol Special Reserve Force Division circa 2014.
Special Reserve Force instructors at Ruben Danger Ashipala Police Training Centre.
Service with the Special Reserve Force Division is open to both male and female police officers who have to complete selection and a six week training cycle, which is held at Khan Mine, a disused copper mine about four hours’ drive east of the capital Windhoek. The training programme includes marksmanship, hostage negotiation, tactical roping, CQB skills and riot control. Upon successful completion the new members are permitted to wear a black beret, SRF qualification badge and a distinctive camouflage uniform, which according to the dress regulations on the Namibian Police Force website, may only be worn by members of the SRFD. Qualified operators can also volunteer to undertake diver and parachute training, with the latter being permitted to wear a special variation of the SRF badge to identify them as being para qualified.
Nampol Dress Regulations for Special Reserve Force members work dress showing their distinctive camouflage uniform and black beret.
Namibia Police Special Reserve Force qualification badge (top) and SRF parachute qualified (bottom). These insignia are worn on the SRF uniform no.6: Work Dress. Photo: Julian Tennant
Metal and lucite parachutist qualification badge purportedly made for qualified members of the SRF. The construction of this badge indicates that is likely to have been made by the ‘Metal Art’ company in South Africa. It is unknown whether the standard SRF qualification also exists in this style and thus far I have found no evidence of either actually being worn by members of the SRFD.
Namibian Police shoulder patch. Several variations of this patch exist, however this type is often seen being worn by members of the Special Reserve Force.
Namibian Police cap badge as worn on the black beret of the Special Reserve Force.
Nampol Special Reserve Force policeman receiving shooting instructions from a member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) during a United Nations deployment. Note the Namibia Police ‘tupperware’ insignia on his left shoulder.
Policemen from the Nampol Special Reserve Force Division pose for a photograph. Note the distinctive SRF camouflage and black berets.
Namibian Police Special Reserve Force vehicle and insignia detail
Inspector General of the Namibian Police Sebastian Ndeitunga. The distinctive SRF qualifcation can be seen embroidered onto the left breast of his shirt. August 2014
American murder suspect, Marcus Thomas being escorted by members of the Special Reserve Force after a failed prison escape attempt in 2014. The SRF qualification patch and ‘tupperware’ Nampol shoulder insignia can be seen on the policeman pushing the wheelchair.
Nampol Special Reserve Force Division riot squad confront protesters against gender based violence at confront protesters trying to deliver a petition against gender based violence at the national Parliament building in Windhoek on 08 October 2020. The SRF qualification patch can be seen being worn on the black body armour of the officer in the top left corner. Photo: Namibian Broadcast Corporation News
Namibian police including members of the SRFD march through the streets of Ondangwa in preparation for a graduation parade from the Danger Ashipala Training Police Centre. 30 October 2020.
If you like what you see here, please FOLLOW this page via email or by using either the buttons below or in the column on the right. I try to post NEW content as often as possible and knowing that somebody is looking at this gives me the encouragement I need to set aside time to go through my archives and collection in order to develop the content for the page. And of course, feel free to contact me here, via email or by visiting my Facebook and Instagram pages