Police Anti Terrorist Unit, British South Africa Police

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The British South Africa Police was a highly active participant in counter insurgency operations from the very beginning of the Rhodesian war, and one of the highly successful units which evolved from this was the Police Anti Terrorist Unit known by the acronym PATU. The origins of PATU go back to the early 1960s and may be found in the formation of the Tracker Contact Teams, an idea first muted by then Superintendent Alec ‘Bill’ Bailey, a former member of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG). This was the predecessor of David Stirling’s Special Air Service (SAS). With the first incursions of terrorists into Rhodesia, Police General Headquarters eventually authorised the formation of a Volunteer Additional Training (VAT) group, which was found to be unorthodox, but successful. In August 1966 PATU came into being, replacing the VAT group. A police reservist, who had also seen action with the SAS during World War II, Reg Seekings, was drawn onto regular strength to assist Bailey with training ‘sticks’ of men, based on LRDG and SAS techniques. Men came from around the country, all of whom were policemen volunteers for this additional duty as soldiers. As the war began to escalate the Police Reserve were drawn into volunteering for service in these units alongside the African Police. The PATU concept of multiracial ‘sticks’ was highly successful and is often considered an unsung unit of the Rhodesian Security Forces. Many policemen and reservists lost their lives while operating in this specialist unit and some of the men who were members of this unit are listed here Category:Police Anti Terrorist Unit, British South Africa Police

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