Special Branch is a highly specialised department which deals with intelligence relating to domestic and international terrorism.
The role of Special Branch is essentially to gather intelligence to meet national security requirements in line with the National Intelligence Model, as well as to support other policing priorities such as prevention of disorder, serious crime and organised crime. In the context of national security, Special Branch works closely with and in support of the Security Service, as well as with other national agencies.
A key aspect of Special Branch intelligence gathering is that it extends the reach of the national agencies by utilising the close links between local police and the communities they serve, as well as the contacts and access which Special Branches maintain nationally and internationally. This linkage is a major strength of the UK's national security structure and the envy of many countries.
Much of the intelligence gathering work of Special Branch, whether undertaken solely by the branch or jointly with agencies such as the Security Service, involves sensitive information, equipment and techniques.
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