Diplomatic Protection Group
The Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG, SO6) is a branch of Protection Command within the Specialist Operations directorate of London's Metropolitan Police Service. Formed in 1974, the unit's main purpose is to provide overt armed protection for Her Majesty's Government and diplomatic premises including embassies, high commissions, and consular sections. The group also provide protection to members of Her Majesty's Government and the diplomatic community in London. DPG are identified by the letter 'D' as their collar number. Their radio call sign is "Ranger".
History and notable incidents
During the Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980, Police Constable Trevor Lock was on protection duty. He was taken hostage, along with the embassy staff, and managed to conceal his firearm until the assault by the British Army's Special Air Service, when he then restrained the terrorist leader.
Other incidents where DPG officers have used firearms, include: when PC Peter Slimon GM visited the National Westminster Bank on Kensington High Street on 27 December 1972 to draw money out while on his lunch break, he found that a bank robbery was in progress, fatally wounded one of the robbers, and injured two other robbers. In the same incident, PS Stephen Peet responded, and shot the third robber. PC Gordon McKinnon was authorised to free a hostage in Trafalgar Square, and did so. More recently the Hackney siege and Markham Square incidents have involved SO6 Officers.
DPG officers have provided armed security for The Queen Mother as well as security for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. In addition DPG residential protection officers have provided armed protection to many world leaders during visits to London.
The Diplomatic Protection Group is responsible for the safety and protection of foreign embassies in London and the government community. The DPG is also tasked with providing immediate response to armed and other critical incidents, and assisting other police units and agencies at times of high demand, and they look after:
- The diplomatic community in London.
- The British Government, former prime ministers, government ministers and other people assessed to be at risk.
- The Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
- Visiting heads of state, and government and foreign ministers.
- Staff and visitors at New Scotland Yard.
- Hospital patients at threat and hospital staff where required.
The most famous place DPG guards is Downing Street, home of the British Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer. 4 armed officers guard the main front enterance, and 2 armed officers guard the rear. There is also an armed officer guarding the Prime Minister's entrance.
Firearms routinely carried by DPG officers include the Glock 17 and MP5. They are also equipped with bulletproof vests and have the non-lethal X26 Taser. Like every other conventional police officer, they carry: ASP Baton, Hiatt Speedcuffs, CS Gas and a radio.
The unit use BMW X5's as their primary Armed Response Vehicle (ARV). Vauxhall Vivaro's are used as Officer Carriers. Vauxhall Zafira's are used as supervisors, however are being phased out, and replaced by newer Ford C-Max's.
All DPG vehicles are coloured red, as a quick reference for other officers, to show it's a Protection Command vehicle.
- Protection Command, Metropolitan Police Service. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- History of the Diplomatic Protection Group, Metropolitan Police Service. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Diplomatic Protection Group, Metropolitan Police Service. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "SO6 Diplomatic Protection Group". Metropolitan Police. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- "SO6 Diplomatic Protection Group - Key Services". Metropolitan Police. Retrieved 9 May 2016.