Special Tactics & Operations Command (STOC) was established in August 2017 arising from a number of recommendations contained in the November 2015 Garda Síochána Inspectorate report ‘Changing Policing in Ireland’.The objective of STOC is to make policing safer by providing specialist firearms and Less Lethal services including for spontaneous incidents, such as 999 calls and for pre-planned operations. STOC has a number of specialist teams under its command including the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), National Negotiator and within Dublin, the Armed Support Unit (ASU). STOC also has a governance role for the ASUs located outside of Dublin as these are managed locally as regional resources. During 2018, STOC will create a new Close Protection Unit to take responsibility for the safety of designated VIPs including the President and Taoiseach. The changes associated with STOC will be implemented incrementally over the next two years. They include the management of specialist units such as ERU and ASU and new ways of providing specialist firearms and Less Lethal services.The first change relates to the way we manage the early stage response to critical and firearms type incidents. STOC in partnership with the Communications Centre at Harcourt Square, are working to setup a Critical & Firearms Incident Command (CFIC) for the Dublin Region. Here Dispatchers trained in a firearms decision model manage STOC and other Garda resources to ensure that the most appropriate responders are tasked to deal with serious incidents.STOC will also create new ways of managing pre-planned operations by providing expert advice to ensure the right STOC teams are used where required.A back office will record and audit details of pre-planned firearms operations to ensure STOC supports the community and fellow Gardaí. STOC is led by a Detective Chief Superintendent who reports to Assistant Commissioner, Security & Intelligence (S&I). The placement of STOC under S&I recognises our dual responsibilities to both security and policing and prioritises our role in safeguarding the security of the State. Armed Support Unit in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) On the 14th of December 2016 the Armed Support Unit was launched in the DMR under the control of Detective Chief Superintendent Special Detective Unit. The Unit has been very active since its inception assisting local units in the execution of warrants, high visibility patrols, spontaneous incidents and checkpoints under Operation Hybrid.