Close Observation Platoon
Close Observation Platoon or COP, are specially selected and trained men. Originally they would be from a regular Infantry Battalion, however much to the annoyance of the foot sloggers, the head sheds realised they were getting shite quality and opened the door to pretty much anyone who could pass selection for it.
Generally hated throughout the rest of the army for their outrageous haircuts and poor standards of dress, they get the job done but might not look smart doing it,
Traditionally trained at Lydd in Dover, you get to spend a lot of time playing with technical kit, pooing in small bags, and getting caught by the DS fast asleep on another shitty night-standing OP.
The highlight of the training is when you get to infiltrate several public locations in Dover completely off-radar, and spend a week watching a target point for that ten second exposure.
Finest hour was in 2007 when one lad snuck out for a fag and got locked out, two lads abandoned post and went for a fish supper (with pistols down back of trousers) and another lad took over 200 pictures of a dirty sat in the train station, getting high quality upskirt shots of her, before smashing one out mere feet from the heads of his sleeping team members.
Since mid-Telic, COP moved in to the Brigade Reconnaissance Role, being a separate unit deployed to theatre. Initially comprising in Telic of single Regiment manning, in Herrick it expanded to be a more composite group of skillsets, with Cavalry, Infantry, Signals, Int Corp and others all working harmoniously to create what was in fairness, a pretty powerful and capable unit.
The glory days of true COP work was already fading with the end of the work in Northern Ireland, and the last proper surveillance work was conducted on Telic, where the BRF was pretty much 100% OP's, technical OP's, overwatch with air assets and various other dull and demanding roles. In Herrick, all the COP training counted for nothing when it became a case of, "Go there and see if you get shot at.".
It's hard to pull off any kind of OP in a land where people spot an outsider or something different to the terrain at a hundred meters.