**SOB--how apt

Glock this: SOB get new guns

PSNI Special Operations Branch (SOB) members have been stopped from carrying machine guns in their vehicles, the Andersonstown News can disclose.

SOB specialises in tactical weapons support for the PSNI, including VIP close protection, armed surveillance and “dynamic intervention”.

Known within the force as the ‘Spar Squad’ (because they work “eight ’til late”), VIP close protection units operate on a round-the-clock shift to bodyguard prominent official figures.

Armed surveillance units operate in a covert manner against targeted suspects who are believed to be in possession of weapons.

And “dynamic intervention” units operate in hostage-type environments.
It had been standard practice for SOB members – including bodyguards and surveillance units - to carry a Heckler and Koch MP5 9mm sub-machine guns in their vehicles.

Members would also be routinely armed with 9mm automatic pistols and mini sub-machine guns on their persons.

However, the Andersonstown News has learned that in a major change of policy one hundred and twenty MP5 sub-machine guns were removed from the Special Operations Branch in July and placed in storage at a PSNI facility in Ballykinlar, Co Down. To compensate for the withdrawal of the MP5s, the SOB vehicles have now been issued with powerful .40 calibre semi-automatic Glock 22 pistols.

The replacement Glock pistols carry a fifteen-round magazine and cost over £400 per piece. They have considerably more ‘stopping power’ than standard PSNI sidearms.

The Glocks are now being fitted to SOB vehicles in expensive custom-made holsters that fit under the dashboard for easy access.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney

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