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Flying Squad

From Academic Kids

(Other meanings: a union flying squad is a subset of a labor union)

The Flying Squad is a branch of London's Metropolitan Police force. It was formed in 1919 as the "Mobile Patrol Experiment", a branch of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), in response to a crime wave that followed the end of World War I. Its officers were originally nicknamed the "thief takers". It consists of police officers trained in high-speed driving, whose task is to prevent and detect armed robbery and similar crimes. The name reflects the fact that the officers operate across the boundaries of London's police divisions. In 1978 it was renamed the "Central Robbery Squad". Its most popular nicknames are "the Sweeney" (Cockney rhyming slang for "Sweeney Todd"/"Flying Squad") and "The Heavy Mob".

The squad's work was dramatized in the 1970s British TV series The Sweeney. This was the era in which the Sweeney's close ties with the criminal underworld, which had always been a necessary part of its strategy, were being exposed to public criticism. A number of scandals involving bribery and corruption were revealed by a internal investigation by the Dorset Constabulary in Operation Countryman, which led to the imprisonment of the squad's Chief Superintendent and twelve detectives, and many more resigned.

The squad now forms part of the Serious and Organised Crime Group of the Specialist Crime Directorate.

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