Operational Support Unit (Ministry of Defence Police)

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Operational Support Unit
Active 1991 – Present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Director of Operational Support
Type Domestic Law Enforcement
Role Counter Terrorism, Public Order, Law Enforcement, CBRN
Part of Ministry of Defence Police
Nickname OSU

The Operational Support Unit (OSU) is the Ministry of Defence Police's centrally managed, multi-capability, national response unit. It may be deployed anywhere in the UK at short notice. The MDP has two Operational Support Units. They are the force's strategic, specialist policing reserve providing a flexible, mobile response.


The MDP has two Operational Support Units, sited strategically to cover the North and South of the UK. Although both based in England, the OSUs also work in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


MDP OSU public order serial with EGT camera operator (Note MD markings on Helmet and Shoulders)

The OSUs have a number of specialisms:[1]

Public Order[edit]

All OSU officers are trained to level one standard for policing public order incidents.

Rope Access Team[edit]

Some OSU officers are trained in climbing, working at height and rope access techniques.

Police Search Officers[edit]

OSU officers are trained to carry out evidential and counter-terrorism searches.

CBRN Response (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear)[edit]

The OSU is able to respond to CBRN incidents.

See also[edit]