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Stepfly
04-14-2011, 09:23 PM
Hello All

Need a little advice if anyone has expertise in UK - specifically Scotland - policing.

I want to open a novel with a special forces team in a Scottish forest swooping down on someone who has kidnapped a child. The use of some sort of special forces type assault squad is a lock, so I'm willing to bend reality to get what I want but... it would be nice to get a little real world research to underpin my flights of fancy.

Does any body know what policing/ army unit could be sent in to such a situation-- currently it's set in Crieff, a small Scottish market in the Perth and Kinross area, though that's just because I know the town a little. It could be set anywhere in Scotland.

Two young children have been kidnapped and their parents were killed in a particularly vicious manner at the scene of the kidnapping, so the (unknown) kidnapper can be considered armed and lethal and the stolen kids are in immediate danger. A witness has called in a suspected location of the children, and this team is sent it.

If anybody can give me any pointers as to what branch of the military or law this could fall under, or a good online resource where I could do some digging re equipment, training and tactics, that would be just peachy.

Also, can anyone recommend any good factual personal accounts of soldiers/police in battle situations? I'm after the feelings of people under fire or in a warzone. Something online for preference, but anything is good.

Thanks in advance if anyone can help.

Stepfly

The Grift
04-14-2011, 09:51 PM
I imagine the British SAS (Special Air Service) would be your team.

Hallen
04-14-2011, 10:09 PM
I'm not from there, but I highly doubt a military unit would be used. A special ops team from a civilian police authority would be used. If it were a terrorist thing, maybe military would be used, but still, here in the US, you're going to use special FBI teams or SWAT type teams from the local police.

Steve Collins
04-14-2011, 10:51 PM
Stepfly, this would absolutely be a police led initiative, the military would not be involved. Scotland has specialist armed units referred to as TFU's (Tactical Firearms Unit) they would be responsible for anything involving the criminal use of firearms and hostage rescue.

I served in London with the Metropolitan Police equivilent for the last 6 years of my 20 year service. London has the busiest teams in the UK, see the Wiki link and scroll to the bottom (SFO's) I was a team leader on an SFO team.

As far as tactics weapons etc are concerned if you want to let me know on here or by PM what you are looking to do I'd be happy to help.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specialist_Firearms_Command

Good Luck,
Steve

movieman
04-14-2011, 10:52 PM
I'm not from there, but I highly doubt a military unit would be used.

I don't know: the British police wouldn't be able to do anything without a thorough 'Health and Safety' investigation, which could take months, particularly if they were expected to jump through a window or kick in a door in order to catch the bad guys.

The Grift
04-14-2011, 11:37 PM
I was taking the OP at face value when they said "special forces" and "willing to bend reality." But there's a been-there-done-that guy on this thread who I'll bet can give you enough details to make your scene read like a training manual... I'd use him!

Steve Collins: in what instances does the military get called in to assist or supplement a TFU or SFO? I thought I had read that one of the roles of the SAS was assisting the CO19 or other local police when needed (hence my SAS suggestion)? Was I misinformed? Books don't always tell the whole story. I definitely know I've read about SAS deployments within the UK that would never happen in the States because of our laws against the US military operating on US soil. Again, can't believe everything you read...

waylander
04-14-2011, 11:43 PM
I defer to Mr Collins' expertise, but my understanding is that military special forces are available at the request of a senior officer (probably chief constable level) if it is felt that the situation is outside of the things that the specialist firearms teams have trained for.

Steve Collins
04-15-2011, 01:09 AM
Waylander you are correct. The SAS were involved in the famous Iranian Embassy seige in London back in 1980. That said, they still had to be requested by the Police Commissioner and written authorisation handing over to the military. As soon as the seige was over the operation was handed back to the police.

In London CO19 SFO teams are now trained to the highest level training alongside the Regiment (SAS) indeed, their own training base is state-of-the-art with aircraft and trains for hostage rescue practice.

I once had two autobiographies out there 'The Good Guys Wear Black' and 'The Glory Boys' by Steve Collins. But that, and a dollar will get get you a cup of coffee. (Well maybe not in Starbucks!)

Stepfly
04-15-2011, 04:14 AM
Thanks everybody for the input. Extremely useful.

@ Steve- yes, it sounds like some TFU would be the right outfit.

Would there be multiple units throughout Scotland based in major cities, or only a very few that could be deployed where they were needed? Wherever I finally decide to locate the action it's likely to be in a small town, so would a team be deployed from the nearest large city and, if so, would a helicopter insertion be logical, or the stuff of movies?

Is there anywhere I might be able to source info on Scottish TFU's? In terms of armaments would they be kitted out similarly to an SO19 squad?

This team is being deployed into a forest at night. Is it be feasible that they could have Infra red goggles, or is that just total fantasy?

The only piece of kit that I think is *very* unlikely for this circumstance is that I want to use is some sort of offensive fragmentation grenade. Do officers only ever use officially supplied ordnance, or do people sometimes carry personally owned firearms to supplement their kit?

In this case the team believe they are being sent to rescue the children from an extremely dangerous, homicidal criminal, but the situation quickly becomes something unexpected with supernatural elements. That said, are there any particular tactics they would use to approach a kidnapper with children holed up in a 'shack' in a forest?

Commonly, what would be the size of such a strike team, and what ranks involved and their command structure within that?

Any info would be extremely helpful, and I'll certainly try and track down your autobiogs! Thanks again for all the advice.

Stepfly

skylark
04-15-2011, 08:10 PM
Bear in mind that there simply aren't that many major cities in Scotland. After Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, there aren't any cities with a population over, or even close to, 100,000.

Another comment: anywhere mountainous or near the coast, helicopters wouldn't be unusual, even military ones - they're used for search and rescue (real and training) all the time. From Aberdeen, that's how they get people to and from the North Sea oil rigs. If your people are holed up somewhere really remote, a the sound of a helicopter somewhere near might be even less conspicuous than the sound of a road vehicle.

Steve Collins
04-15-2011, 09:57 PM
Thanks everybody for the input. Extremely useful.

@ Steve- yes, it sounds like some TFU would be the right outfit.

Would there be multiple units throughout Scotland based in major cities, or only a very few that could be deployed where they were needed?
In the UK we don't (except the City of London) have city police per se. We have Police forces (now called police services) that cover geographic areas for instance the London Metropolitan (Scotland Yard) area is 640 square miles. The TFU's are made up of individual officers from different stations in the Region that would deploy to a central location in case of an incident. Here they would draw their firearms and be briefed on the incident.
Wherever I finally decide to locate the action it's likely to be in a small town, so would a team be deployed from the nearest large city and, if so, would a helicopter insertion be logical, or the stuff of movies?
Helicopter insertion is not out of the question however, what is more likely is that the team leader and one or two men will deploy in advance and recce the location, the rest of the team would load the equipment vans and follow on by road. Police helicopters tend to be very small and couldn't carry a full team plus everything they'd need for this type of op.

Is there anywhere I might be able to source info on Scottish TFU's? In terms of armaments would they be kitted out similarly to an SO19 squad?
Perth is covered by Tayside Police, however, like a lot of police websites in the UK they tend to have very little in the way of letting people know their firearms capabilities. Yes, the teams would kit out exactly like their SO19 counterparts. However, they tend to favour the Heckler and Koch 53 as an assault weapon as opposed to the MP5. Sidearm will be the Glock 17 9mm pistol. (I have a few photographs of Tayside Police if you want to be descriptive about kit, uniforms etc I can e-mail them if you wish?

This team is being deployed into a forest at night. Is it be feasible that they could have Infra red goggles, or is that just total fantasy?
Yes, they most certainly would wear head mounted IR goggles although not everybody on the team (particularly the assault team) would be wearing them, purely because, when it goes noisy everything will be lit up like a Christmas tree.

The only piece of kit that I think is *very* unlikely for this circumstance is that I want to use is some sort of offensive fragmentation grenade. Do officers only ever use officially supplied ordnance, or do people sometimes carry personally owned firearms to supplement their kit?
They only carry issue equipment from a litigation standpoint, the grenades would not be fragmentation but probably NICO 9 burst falsh and noise stun grenades with a half second delay. If, however, somebody in your plot was to be hit by shrapnel I have seen injuries from the NICO due to the fact that when it explodes a series of nine round platelets around the body fly out in all directions. You can google NICO if you wish to see photographs.

In this case the team believe they are being sent to rescue the children from an extremely dangerous, homicidal criminal, but the situation quickly becomes something unexpected with supernatural elements. That said, are there any particular tactics they would use to approach a kidnapper with children holed up in a 'shack' in a forest?
Yes, as was said by Skylark, noise out of the ordinary will tip people off, noise travels at night so the team would move by vehicle from a LUP (Laying Up Point) to a FUP (Forming Up Point) a suitable distance from the stronghold, here they would move on foot to the pre-determined FAP (Final Assault Position).

If time permitted intel on the stronghold would have been relayed back to the team leader by surveillance officers in a CROP (Covert Rural Observation Post) they will have TI'd (Target Indication) the stronghold which is done by placing a clock face over the top of the structure then describing each aspect of the building, openings (windows, doors etc) back at the LUP as the information came in it would be drawn on a white board so the team could see what they were up against. 6 o'clock on the clock face is always the centre of the designated front of the stronghold.

So if a CROPS officer said he had movement at a window at 9 o'clock everybody would look at the window on the right of the building as we look at it (make sense?).

The team leader when he has all of the intel will draw up and brief for three options:
1. Surrender Option.
2. ER (Emergency Reaction) this is when all hell breaks loose and shots are fired prior to the team being in the position of choice, then it's hell for leather by the quickest possible means.
3. DA or (Deliberate Action) by far the preferred method, it means that things are being done on our terms, we have moved in undetected, we have got to our FAP's we have our MOE (Method Of Entry) equipment in place and we are awaiting the GO!

Commonly, what would be the size of such a strike team, and what ranks involved and their command structure within that?
Teams consist of a Sergeant (Team Leader) and 7 men, however, depending on the size of the structure and multiple entry points more than one team is usually used on a hostage rescue.

Any info would be extremely helpful, and I'll certainly try and track down your autobiogs! Thanks again for all the advice.

Stepfly

Hope this is of help, feel free if you have other questions, I have skipped some SOP's (Standard Operating Procedures) that I didn't put in my books as they are not in the public domain to my knowledge so what they don't know don't hurt them.
Best,
Steve