British Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR)
The Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) is a relatively recently formed special forces unit of the British Army, specializing in surveillance and intelligence gathering operations. The SRR recruits from across all UK regiments and is the only UKSF regiment to include women in operational roles. The secrecy surrounding the SRR is even greater than the SAS or SBS, with very little info about the unit leaking into the public domain.
It is believed that one of the main roles of the SRR is to support SAS/SBS special operations by providing close target reconnaissance, surveillance and 'eyes-on' intelligence.
The SRR absorbs the 14th Intelligence Company ('The Det'), a special plainclothes surveillance unit created in 1973, specifically for operations in Northern Ireland. The skills and experience gained in Northern Ireland will no doubt now be brought to bear in the global war against terror.
Following a grueling selection process, SRR operatives are trained in the arts of surveillance, photography, Close Quarters Battle (CQB) and advanced driving. (see 14 Company section for more details of such training). With the shift of emphasis to operations in the Middle-East, SRR operatives are likely to become proficient in Mid-Eastern languages such as Arabic and Farsi.
Special Reconnaissance Regiment Operations
Since its formation in April 2005, the SRR has been involved in several controversial operations.
In July 2005, following a wave of bombings in London, the SRR were deployed on the streets of the UK capital in a bid to counter the threat. It was reported that members from the SRR were involved in the surveillance operation involving Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes. The electrician was mistakenly thought to be connected to the July 7 attacks and was trailed to an underground tube station by SRR operatives. As he boarded the train, he was fatally shot by police.
note: the official IPCC report into the Stockwell incident does not mention the SRR, instead identifying the surveillance operatives involved as being from S012 (Special Branch) and S013 (Anti-terrorist Branch) (both now combined into S015 Counter Terrorism Command).
In September 2005, 2 members of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment were reportedly arrested in the Southern Iraqi city of Basra. They had apparently been keeping watch on a public demonstration from their car when they aroused the suspicion of Iraqi police. A gunfight ensued and the 2 SRR operators were taken into custody. Unable to secure the 2 men's release through diplomatic means, they were rescued by their SAS colleagues in a controversial operation which included the use of British APCs in a diversionary raid on a police station.
Various brief mentions of the SRR have surfaced in press reports from Iraq and Afghanistan. A number of SRR operatives are believed to be operating alongside Task Force Black, an SAS Squadron assigned to a joint international task force hunting Al Qaeda and ex members of Saddam's regime in Iraq. The Special Reconnaissance Regiment is also thought to be active in Afghanistan, most likely assisting the SBS in seeking out high value Taliban leadership targets.