Officers and staff from emergency services in the North West took part in a multi-agency training exercise in Merseyside over the weekend.
Over 400 participants from agencies including Counter Terrorism Policing North West (CTPNW), Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire & Rescue, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and the Coast Guard took part in the large-scale exercise staged at Cammell-Laird shipyard, which was coordinated by CTPNW.
The exercise, which was planned over the course of a number of months, tested the emergency response to a no-notice maritime terrorist incident and incorporated a ‘live-play’ element which saw participants begin the day with no knowledge of the scenario so they could respond as they would in the event of a real incident.
A staged road-traffic collision marked the start of the exercise after which a ‘suspect’ was seen fleeing the scene, which was inclusive of a delayed Marauding terrorist Attack (MTA) before taking ‘hostages’ aboard a Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship.
As the scenario unfolded, all agencies saw their response procedures rigorously tested as they sought to bring the ‘incident’ to a safe conclusion. This was achieved when the suspect was apprehended and the hostages safely released a number of hours later.
Detective Superintendent Will Chatterton, CTPNW Deputy Head and Lead for Protect & Prepare, said: “This exercise was a carefully planned opportunity for agencies across the North West to rigorously test their emergency response plans in a controlled, but realistic, environment.
“We hope to never be in a position where these plans need to be utilised in response to a real incident but it’s extremely important that we are prepared to respond should the moment arise so exercises like the one held over the weekend are a crucial part of rehearsing emergency plans.
“Therefore, it’s been great to see the support given to the exercise by colleagues from across multiple services and the different roles that have been tested.
“We had an excellent turnout on the day and I know that those involved found it to be hugely beneficial and will use the experience to build on their existing plans to ensure they are as effective as they possibly can be.”
Assistant Chief Constable Paul White from Merseyside Police said: “Multi-agency exercises such this are absolutely vital for us to demonstrate how successfully the emergency services work together in the event of a major incident.
“Merseyside Police has a comprehensive plan in place and a highly skilled and prepared workforce of officers and staff across the Force ready to respond should it ever be required.
“Regularly testing our planning is essential to allow us to adapt, learn and constantly improve our plan so that we have the most effective staff and resources in place at all times.”
Mike Hill, Managing Director, Cammell Laird said: “Cammell Laird supports the armed forces at home and when in operational theatre across the globe. We are proud signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant. Security lies at the heart of our operations and we are committed to playing our part in keeping our country safe.
“We were therefore delighted to host 400 representatives from the emergency services at our facility and provide the setting for this vital exercise, which enabled the agencies to rehearse their essential emergency plans.”