Specialist Operations Directorate

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Specialist Operations is a directorate of the Metropolitan Police. At its peak, SO was a group of twenty specialist units, which were formed to give the Metropolitan Police a specialist policing capability. The SO designation was implemented in 1986 as part of Sir Kenneth Newman's restructuring of the Metropolitan Police Service. Most of the units designated SO units were already in existence, many of them as departments of C Division and its branches, and all were presided over by an Assistant Commissioner of Special Operations (ACSO).

Current structure[edit]

Specialist Operations is made up of three Commands, commanded by Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick.

Protection Command[edit]

Protection Command is split into three branches:

Provides armed personal protection services for ministers, and public officials at threat from terrorism, including visiting heads of government and other public figures.
Provides protection of the Monarch and other members of the Royal Family. The OCU is divided into Residential Protection, Personal and Close Protection, and the Special Escort Group (SEG), who provide mobile protection.
Provides protection for foreign missions in London, including protecting embassies, and the residences of visiting heads of state, heads of government and ministers.

Counter Terrorism Command (SO15)[edit]

The Counter Terrorism Command, formerly the Anti-Terrorist Branch and Special Branch, aims to protect London and the UK from the threat of terrorism. The CT Command brings together intelligence gathering, analysis and development with investigation and operational support activity.

Security Command (SO2)[edit]


Historical structure[edit]

Due to continual restructuring of the Metropolitan Police, only a few of the original SO units still exist in their original form and still use the SO designation. These are marked in bold. Where possible, the current name or organisation of the former SO unit is listed in italics. Where the SO designation has been reassigned to another unit, the units are listed in order

See also[edit]


External links[edit]