SCO19 (SC&O19) - Operations
In recent years SCO19 have been involved in some high profile and controversial operations.
July 22nd 2005 - Stockwell
CO19 (as the unit was then called) officers were amongst the armed police that shot dead 27 year old Brazilian electrician, Jean Charles de Menezes, on a subway carriage in Stockwell underground station. With the mistaken belief that De Menezes was someone involved with the deadly bombings of the 7th of July, he was followed by Special Branch surveillance teams (and possible members of the newly formed SRR) to the Tube station and down to the train. De Menzes was tackled by CO19 officers and fatally shot multiple times in the head. He was later discovered to be completely innocent of any connection to terrorists.
July 2005 - London Anti-Terror Raids
In raids that followed the July 21st bombings in London, SFO units from CO19 were reportedly assisted by the SAS who's expertise in explosive entry was called upon to gain entry to at least one of the premises raided. 3 of the 4 men wanted for the July 21 attacks were arrested in London. The 4th man was arrested by Italian authorities in Rome.
Entire alleged bomb ring held after raids in London and Rome
(Guardian online report)
June 2nd 2006 - Forest Gate - Operation Volga
250 Police Officers, spearheaded by CO19 SFOs, raided an address in Lansdown Road, Forest Gate, London. Intelligence from MI5 suggested that the house, home to Muslim brothers, Abul Kahar Kalam and Abul Koyair Kalam, contained terrorist materials, possibly including chemical/biological weapons, and, accordingly, CO19 wore protective suits on this operation. During the operation, Abul Kahar Kalam was wounded by a single shot from one of the CO19 officers. Initial reports claimed that the shot, from an HK MP5, was accidental, the result of a struggle on the stairs between the CO19 officer and Mr Kahar. Specualtion remains that the bulky protective suits worn by CO19 may have contributed to the accidental discharge.
Operation Volga caused controversy, not just due to the shooting but also because no terrorist material was discovered and the 2 brothers were cleared of any terrorism offences.. An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation was to later clear the CO19 officer who had fired the shot of any wrong doing. Controversy also surrounds reports that MI5 had relied on a single informer when raising the alarm about the 2 brothers.
- Terror raid victim arrested as officer who shot him cleared.
(Times Online report)
May 2008 - Chelsea
CO19 are called to Chelsea, London, where Mark Saunders, a Barrister, was holed up in luxury flat after opening fire at his neighbours with a shotgun. After a tense standoff, during which Saunders exchanged fire with C019 officers, he was shot several times by marksmen. Taking no chances, CO19 stormed the flat, throwing in stun grenades and tear gas cannisters. Mr Saunders was taken outside so he could be given medical assistance but it was sadly too late and he was already dead from his wounds.
- video : CO19 storming Saunder's flat
- A huge row, then he opened fire: the barrister shot dead by police
(Guardian online report)
Joint CO19/SBS Operations
In the past CO19 (or SO19 as it was then called) SFO units have assisted the SBS in anti-drug smuggling operations.