Specialist Operations Unit

We Are There For the Community

Who we are

In the United Kindgsom, we have a number of units that work together and specialise in different areas of policing to contribute towards creating a safer place for us all to live and work:

Roads Policing Unit: Our Road Policing Unit (RPU) works to make the roads safers. Our officers are trained to deal with various situations including;

  • Vehicle pursuit management
  • Vehicle examinations and recoveries
  • Hazardous chemical loads
  • Helping transport large vehicles (abnormal loads)
  • VIP escorts.

The Roads Policing Unit are also responsible for investigating fatal and serious injury collisions, reducing crime and increasing safety on our roads. The unit consists of the following specialist teams;

  • Collision Investigation Unit – responsible for investigating and reporting on all road fatalities or serious injuries
  • Traffic Management – responsible for liaising with agencies and local authorities about traffic management, safety schemes, road closures for major traffic events, roadworks and enforcing road restrictions
  • Vehicle Recovery – responsible for overseeing the police garage recovery scheme and liaising with recovery workers
  • Vehicle Examination – provide vehicle examination support and offer advice and support concerning collisions, vehicle safety, criminal activity, vehicle detective work, external agency assistance and vehicle types
  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).

RPU officers are out on the road 24/7 and deal with a range of situations from serious collisions to arresting suspects.

This requires all officers who drive the RPU vehicles to complete a high level of driver training which leads regular refresh training. Drivers are also trained in Tactical Pursuit And Containment (TPAC) which encourages them to find an early resolution and safer alternative to pursuits, such as boxing in vehicles or using a stinger to deflate the tyres.

Specialist Firearms Command: Our Specialist Firearms Command aims to provide an immediate armed response to incidents where firearms have been, are being or are thought to be in use.

The use of firearms requires an effective and professional response and all our operations, whether spontaneous or pre-planned, follow strict guidelines.

All firearms officers receive frequent training and gain qualifications in each weapon they’re authorised to carry. If an officer fails to meet national requirements, their authority to carry a firearm will be taken away.

The training teaches officers to specialise in the following roles;

  • Rifle Officers – this includes VIP protection, rural and urban protection work and intelligence
  • Specialist Protection Officers – their aim is to keep a protected person safe and away from potential attacks
  • Specialist Firearms Officers – their responsibilities include entering buildings, buses, coaches, trains and aircraft to rescue hostages

Dog Support Unit: Our Dog Support Unit play a vital role in our fight against crime.  Each officer handles a dog that is trained to track offenders or missing people by following the trail left by them on the ground. They search for people and/or items in buildings or open areas, chase and catch offenders and protect officers in dangerous situations.

Some dogs are also specially trained to detect drugs, cash, firearms or explosives through their sense of smell;

  • Proactive dogs – these dogs find drugs, guns and cash and are trained to search houses, planes, cars and lorries. We understand that drugs are as dangerous to dogs, as they are to people, so we train dogs to freeze when they find drugs so they don’t come into contact with them
  • Explosives dogs – these dogs are trained to search and find explosives.

Operational Support Unit: The Operational Support Unit (OSU) are officers who are specially
trained to manage and tackle serious public order such as violent and peaceful protests. Officers are given two levels of training;

  • Level 1 officers receive regular training and complete traingin every year, providing specialist training in diverse protest removal, stadium crowd entry tactics, anti-terrorist training and advanced method of entry training.
  • Level 2 officers attend level one training, plus an additional four day course each year which provides a live-time exercise to test their competency.

The Team

 This division is then split off into numerous Teams such as the Specialist Firearms Command Team, Dog Support Team & Roads Policing Ground. Each Team has Division Commander.


Roads Policing Unit

The Roads Policing Group is currently lead by Charley Hugh.

Specialist Firearms Command

The Specialist Firearms Command is currently lead by Robert Hicks.

Dog Support Unit

The Dog Support Unit is currently lead by ?

Specialist Protection Group

The Specialist Protection Group is currently lead by ?

Operations Support Unit

The Operational Support Unit is currently lead by ?


Our Equipment

 Each division under the Specialist Operation Unit are colour co-ordinated so the vehicle can stand out from our National Police Air Service Colleagues as well as the Frontline Officer.
  • Roads Policing Unit operate the blue fleet of vehicles.
  • Specialist Firearms Command have gone for the colour scheme of black vehicles.
  • The Specialist Protection Group officers have gone for a bright Red colour scheme.
  • The Dog Support Team have decided to keep the colour scheme easy and gone for Silver.
  • Our Operational Support Unit want to stand out from the crowd and have gone for the yellow colour scheme.

Command Team

Robert Hicks

Chief Superintendent – SFC Commander

C Hugh

Chief Superintendent – RPU Commander


Sergeant – SFC

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