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Special Reconnaissance Regiment
SRR.jpg
Cap badge of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment
Active 6 April 2005 - Present
Country United Kingdom
Branch Tri-Service
Type Special Forces
Role Close Target Reconnaissance
Size One Regiment
Part of UK Special Forces
Garrison/HQ Hereford
Abbreviation SRR

The Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) is a Special Forces regiment of the British Armed Forces, which conducts special reconnaissance, predominantly, but not exclusively, in a counter-terrorism posture. It was established on 6 April 2005 at RMA Sandhurst and is a component of United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) alongside the Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS), supported by the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG).

Contents

Formation

It is believed that one of the main roles of the SRR is to support SAS/SBS special operations by providing close target reconnaissance, surveillance and 'eyes-on' intelligence. The regiment employs state-of-the-art electronic surveillance gear to eavesdrop on their targets.

Little is publicly known about the SRR's size or structure. Recent press reports have put the regiment at company size - around 150 operatives. It is believed to be based alongside the SAS at RHQ Credenhill, near Hereford,[1].

The regiment was established following a Strategic Defence white paper identifying a requirement for assets to engage in covert special reconnaissance and surveillance in support of military activities worldwide.

It is the newest Special Forces regiment in the armed forces, announced by the then Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon in 2004.[1] The regiment was formed around a core of already existing assets, thought to be the Joint Communications Unit (Northern Ireland) (JCU(NI)), known in popular culture as 14 Intelligence Company, which played a similar role against Irish republican and loyalist terrorism in Northern Ireland since the 1970s.[2]

Few details are publicly available, but it is believed that the unit is less than half the size of the SAS.

Regalia

Personnel retain the uniforms of their parent organisations with the addition of an 'emerald grey' coloured beret and the SRR cap badge. The cap badge shares Excalibur (the sword of King Arthur) in common with the other SF emblems, in the case of the SRR placed behind a Corinthian helmet surmounting a scroll inscribed RECONNAISSANCE.[2] The stable belt of the SRR is similar in style to that of the SAS, however is darker in appearance, being Midnight Blue.

Recruitment and selection

Nothing has been released to the public domain regarding recruitment and selection, however predicated around the JCU(NI) model the regiment recruits both sexes from throughout the British armed forces.

History

UK Government policy is not to comment on Special Forces activities, and personnel are bound by the same confidentiality agreement as other UKSF operators,[citation needed] therefore no verifiable information exists regarding the activities of the SRR.

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Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes

On 22 July 2005 Jean Charles de Menezes was shot by armed police officers on the London Underground rail system, at Stockwell tube station.

Three media reports carry assertions by unattributed UK government sources that SRR personnel were involved in the intelligence collection effort leading to the shooting,[3] and on the tube train whilst the offensive action occurred.[4] A partial Ministry of Defence response was reported by the Sunday Times. [5]

Iraq arrests

On 19 September 2005 two British personnel were detained by Iraqi police in Basra and later released via the use of force by the British military.

Media reporting included unattributed comments which alleged a firefight with British personnel dressed in Arabic fashion,[6] and that the two were members of the SRR. One early BBC report stated that the two men had explosives in their car.[7]

In April 2006, the Sunday Mirror reported that the then Defence Secretary, John Reid, had ordered an inquiry into the role of Special Forces during this incident, but had been overruled.[8]

Northern Ireland

In March 2009, Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde informed the Policing Board that the Special Reconnaissance Regiment had been deployed in Northern Ireland to help gather intelligence on dissident republicans. This was condemned by Martin McGuinness and welcomed by the DUP.[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Special forces regiment created". BBC News. 2005-04-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4412907.stm. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  2. ^ a b Thomas Harding (2005-04-06). "New Special Forces unit will spy on the terrorists". Telegraph.co.uk (Telegraph Media Group). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/04/06/nterr06.xml. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  3. ^ Richard Norton-Taylor (2005-07-04). "New special forces unit tailed Brazilian". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/0,16132,1542186,00.html. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  4. ^ "AN INNOCENT MAN SHOT DEAD ON THE LONDON TUBE BY POLICE ... since then everything we’ve been told has been wrong.". Sunday Herald. 2005-08-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20051204000850/http://www.sundayherald.com/51372. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  5. ^ "Could this ‘police officer’ be a soldier?". Sunday Times. 2005-07-31. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article550024.ece. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  6. ^ Colin Freeman (2005-09-20). "British tanks in 'smash and grab raid'". The Scotsman. http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1964592005. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  7. ^ "Leaders firm after Basra unrest". BBC. 2005-09-21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4267054.stm. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  8. ^ Rupert Hamer (2006-04-16). "REID TAKES ON SAS..AND LOSES". Sunday Mirror. http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=16952674%26method=full%26siteid=62484%26headline=reid%2dtakes%2don%2dsas%2d%2dand%2dloses%2d-name_page.html. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  9. ^ anon (2009-03-06). "Forces are a 'threat': McGuinness". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7927178.stm. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 

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