Scotland Yard creates an elite SAS-style unit of armed police trained to respond to a Mumbai-style terror attack in Britain
- Police want to be able to respond to terror attacks on their own
- They have reportedly trained officers to drop out of helicopters
- New squad is designed to deal with a ‘marauding gunman’ like in Tunisia
- Unit’s existence emerges on day of huge exercise in dealing with terror
The Met Police has assembled a new squad of armed officers to deal with a Mumbai-style terror attack on London.
The unit of 130 officers are believed to have been training with special forces in how to break up a terrorist siege or tackle an attack by a ‘marauding gunman’ like that in Tunisia last week.
It is understood the police are keen to be able to respond quickly to any such threat without having to immediately call in the army or SAS.
The difference between the new unit and military special forces would be that the police team’s primary focus would be on arresting, rather than taking down, terrorists, The Guardian reported today.
The paper claimed the new squad has been armed with semi-automatic rifles and can abseil from helicopters to avoid being caught up in the capital’s heavy traffic.
Heavily-armed police took part in a anti-terror exercise this afternoon
Islamic-extremist terrorists killed 173 people over three days in Mumbai in coordinated shootings and bombings in November 2008.
Gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles and backpacks filled with ammunition and grenades arrived by dinghy and fanned out to the city’s railway station, a popular cafe and the Oberoi Trident hotel and Taj Mahal Hotel.
More than 60 people were then killed when al-Shabaab militants stormed the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in 2013.
A mock terrorist firearms attack is being staged in London over the next two days to test the emergency services’ ability to respond to a mass shooting.
The counter-terrorism ‘major live play exercise’ has been in the planning since January and will involve a number of locations, the Metropolitan Police said.
The Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris and the hostage-taking siege in Sydney had an ‘influence’ on the test, according to deputy assistant commissioner and director of the exercise Maxine de Brunner.
She said it was the Met’s view that it had never before put together an exercise of this magnitude and said it would be ‘very realistic’.
She also said the Mumbai attacks of 2008 ‘and other attacks around the world’ were thought through in the planning of the exercise.
But the Met said the test was in no way connected or prompted by the massacre in Tunisia last week and the essential theme of it was agreed before January.
The Met declined to comment on the new unit of armed police officers.
Heavily-armed gunmen caused carnage in Mumbai in 2008 when they moved through the city killing citizens
The city’s Taj Mahal hotel became a battleground as Indian commandos attempted to end the attack
In 2013, militants stormed the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing more than 60 people