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SAS Counter Terrorism Forces To Increase

08.05.2017

The number of Special Air Service (SAS) troops assigned to counter terrorism (CT) duties are to be increased, it has been reported.[1]

Citing a source within the SAS, the Sunday times reports that the SAS CT force is to have its ranks swelled to around 80. The SAS CT commitment is assigned to one of 4 Sabre Squadrons within 22 SAS. Each squadron rotates into the role on a regular basis. SAS squadrons consists of 15-man troops so, unless the Regiment is to get more troops in general, expanding the CT team to an 80-strong unit would require it to 'borrow' a troop from one of the other squadrons.

The increase in SAS CT capability is meant to help bolster the security services's capability to respond to multiple terrorist attacks on British soil. Britain's police services have a counter terrorism capability in the form of teams of armed officers trained to Counter Terrorism Specialist Firearms Officer (CTSFO) standards. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), for example, has raised a force of around 130 CTSFOs. They are trained in techniques such as close quarters combat (CQB) and fast-rope insertion by helicopter.

CTSFOs with the Metropolitan Police Service pose for press photos. Armed police such as these would be among the first responders to an attack by terrorist gunmen on British streets. Military units, such as the SAS, would only be called in when authorised by COBRA, the government's crisis committee.

The Time's SAS source, however, while describing the Met's CTSFOs as 'good', went on to say that "They are not trained soldiers. They are not trained in close-quarters combat to the level that the SAS are."

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