Special Forces personnel are required to carry out a higher level of clearance, while most military personnel are bound by the Official Secrets Act, an Act within the Parliament of the United Kingdom which must be followed by military personnel to protect official information related to national security.
Upon acceptance into the regiment, all personnel are obligated to limit the dissemination of their employment to others. Secrecy is mandatory during service as personnel are not required to provide identifying details to police authorities. Authorities are entitled to a 24-hour ‘period following offensive action within the United Kingdom, during which they are debriefed. Members are not obliged to provide information to civilian agencies during this period.
SAS soldiers are awarded medals, such as the Military Cross which is the third level military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Army and the persons awarded are publicized in the formal manner of the London Gazette press. Many times the Corps or Regiment’s of the soldier who is being honored is protected with security cover. The circumstances regarding a soldier that is killed in action is not routinely dispersed. Not all decorations of soldiers are publicized, many are held secured by record of the Ministry of Defense. They are then transferred to the United Kingdom National Archives.
The British Government has a standing policy of not discussing the SAS or its operations and makes few official announcements concerning their activities. When reports of military operations are given there is usually no mention of SAS, or other Special Forces, involvement. Since the inception of the British ‘D’ Notice system for the British Press during World War II any mention of the Special Air Service has been one of the cautionary or non-disclosure categories of reporting.