Counter Terrorism Command

The Counter Terrorism Command (CTC) or SO15 is a Specialist Operations branch within London's Metropolitan Police Service.[1] The Counter Terrorism Command was established as a result of the merging of the Anti-Terrorist Branch (SO13), and the Special Branch (SO12) in October 2006, bringing together intelligence, operations and investigative functions to form a single command.[1] CTC has over 1,500 Police Officers and staff, and a number of investigators based overseas. Commander Dean Haydon[2] is the head of the Counter Terrorism Command and reports to the Senior National Co-ordinator, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball.[3]


According to the Counter Terrorism Command's website[1] the Command’s overriding priority is to keep the public safe and to disrupt terrorist related activity in the United Kingdom and against UK interests overseas by:

The Counter Terrorism Command has a number of other national security functions. It has the national lead for domestic extremism, a role undertaken by the National Domestic Extremism Unit. It also deals with sensitive national security investigations, such as Official Secrets Act enquiries, the investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and politically motivated murders.[1]

The Counter Terrorism Command is part of the National Counter Terrorism Network which consists of 5 Counter Terrorism Units (CTUs) and smaller regional units.[4][5] It is overseen by the counter-terrorism coordination committee, chaired by Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police Service.[4] As part of its role in the National Counter Terrorism Network, SO15 operate against the threat of terrorism at a local, national, and international level and engages with a range of partners to prevent terrorist related activity, including the Security Service (MI5) and Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).[1]


The first counter terrorist unit at Scotland Yard was commissioned in 1883 by the then Home Secretary Sir William Harcourt; the Irish Bureau, or Special Irish Branch as it became known, consisted of just 12 detectives with a mission to defeat the "Fenian" terrorist campaign that had been on-going in London and across the country. In November 2013 this Counter Terrorism Command in its current format (SO15) comprises 1790 staff including 1350 police officers and 600 detectives working in 75 specialist units with the capability to respond proactively or reactively anywhere in the world.

The Counter Terrorism Command in its various guises has been responsible for investigating several high-profile terrorist incidents since its inception, including:

Through the International Operations branch of the Counter Terrorism Command, SO15 has proactively deployed officers around the world as well as in response to terrorist incidents in support of host countries and to investigate when British nationals are the victims of acts of terrorism. Such investigations include:

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Counter Terrorism Command website". Counter Terrorism Command. MPS. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  2. "Two men jailed for terrorism offences". Mynewsdesk. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  3. "MPS Organisational Chart January 2016" (PDF). MPS. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  4. 1 2 "Counter-terrorism". Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  5. "Background | CTU". Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  6. Walton, Richard (November 2013). 130 years of Counter Terrorism Policing at Scotland Yard. SO15.

External links

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