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Special Reconnaissance Regiment - SRR

The Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) is a Special Forces regiment of the British Armed Forces, which conducts special reconnaissance, predominantly, but not exclusively, in a Counter-Terrorism posture. It was established on 6 April 2005 at RMA Sandhurst and is a component of United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) alongside the Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS), supported by the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG).

Formation

Thought to be based near Hereford, the SRR is a Tri-Service unit administered by the British army. The regiment was established following a Strategic Defence white paper identifying a requirement for assets to engage in covert special reconnaissance and surveillance in support of military activities worldwide.

It is the newest Special Forces regiment in the armed forces, announced by the then Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon in 2004. The regiment was formed around a core of already existing assets, thought to be an allusion to Joint Communications Unit (Northern Ireland) (JCU(NI)), known in popular culture as 14 Intelligence Company, which formed a similar role against Irish republican and loyalist terrorism in Northern Ireland since the 1970s.

Regalia

Personnel retain the uniforms of their parent organisations with the addition of an 'emerald grey' coloured beret and the SRR cap badge. The cap badge shares the Sword of Damocles or Excalibur in common with the other SF emblems, in the case of the SRR placed behind a Corinthian helmet surmounting a scroll inscribed RECONNAISSANCE. The stable belt of the SRR is similar in style to that of the SAS, however is darker in appearance, being Royal Blue.

Recruitment and selection

Nothing has been released to the public domain regarding recruitment and selection, however predicated around the JCU(NI) model the regiment recruits both sexes from throughout the British armed forces.

History

UK Government policy is not to comment on Special Forces activities, and personnel are bound by the same confidentiality agreement as other UKSF operators, therefore no verifiable information exists regarding the activities of the SRR.

Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes

On 22 July 2005 Jean Charles de Menezes was shot by armed police officers on the London underground rail system, at Stockwell tube station.

Three media reports carry assertions by unattributed UK government sources that SRR personnel were involved in the intelligence collection effort leading to the shooting, and on the tube train whilst the offensive action occurred. A partial Ministry of Defence response was reported by the Times.

Iraq arrests

On 19 September 2005 two British personnel were detained by Iraqi police in Basra and later released via the use of force by the British military.

Media reporting included unattributed comments which alleged a firefight with British personnel dressed in Arabic fashion, and that the two were members of the SRR. One early BBC report stated that the two men had explosives in their car.

In April 2006, the Sunday Mirror reported that the then Defence Secretary, John Reid, had ordered an inquiry into the role of Special Forces during this incident, but had been overruled.

Few details are publicly available, but it is believed that the unit is less than half the size of the SAS.

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