Elite UK Armed Forces personnel have been deployed around the UK disguised as beggars.
The move comes as the UK’s international terror threat level remains ‘Severe’, in light of the recent Manchester and London Bridge attacks.
The SAS (Special Air Service) troops’ deployment is designed to stop any additional terror attacks from taking place. Should terrorists strike, the troops’ swift actions could help keep injuries to a minimum.
It’s believed that participating personnel are positioned at prime locations – such as shopping centres and train stations - across the UK’s major cities, including Manchester and London. Armed with Heckler and Koch MP7 Personal Defence Weapons, they also apparently have medical kits to hand.
Other troops have a supporting role in this ‘armed beggars’ operation: they’re reportedly also in disguise, as ordinary citizens, tasked with keeping their colleagues fed.
“The armed units have been deployed for some time now and it is unlikely the operation will be brought to a halt”, an unidentified UK military representative told the Daily Mirror newspaper. “The threat level”, he/she added, “is still assessed by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center as severe and that means an attack is highly likely so we must be ready.”
‘Severe’ is the second-highest of five threat levels. These range from ‘Low’, through ‘Moderate’ and ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’ and, finally, ‘Critical’. That very highest threat level indicates that an attack is on its way very soon.
"These soldiers provide a very good layer of immediate response at least to minimise casualties or stop injuries or deaths if they react quickly”, the Mirror’s source added. "The operation is police-led but the director of Special Forces is kept in touch with developments and is in touch with his men at all times.”
Special Air Service
Part of the British Army, the SAS special forces unit was established in 1941. Besides counter-terrorism work, its other roles include hostage rescue and low-key reconnaissance missions.
The Hecker and Koch MP7 Personal Defence Weapon is a high-performance submachine gun that has limited size, lightness and a near-zero recoil operations capability all on its side. In service since the early 2000s, it’s used by a host of ground forces, not least of which the UK’s MoD and Metropolitan polices.