Police Bomb Threat Training In Hampshire

Police officers from across the country have been training in Hampshire to deal with gun and bomb threats.

It's ahead of the G8 summit being held in the Northern Ireland and planned protests surrounding the event.

The training operation has also taken place in Catterick, North Yorkshire.

Full details of the drills that have been carried out since Christmas have now been revealed, including teaching officers how to operate when water cannon and baton rounds are used.

Around 3,600 police from forces across Britain are being sent over to Northern Ireland to help with the massive security operation surrounding the summit, taking place later this month in Fermanagh.

Of these, 2,900 have been given specialist training so that they are prepared for tactics and equipment used in Northern Ireland but not on the mainland.

More than 700 officers have been trained to drive armoured vehicles, and public order teams will wear heavier ballistic body armour and use larger riot shields

Chief Superintendent Kevin Dunwoody, who is head of training for the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said:

"We've run a series of public order deployment-ready sessions to get people ready.

"Every one of the officers who have come here are already trained and experienced in public order, but we're giving them some of the tactical options that we have in Northern Ireland that wouldn't be available to them here."

Each unit coming from Great Britain will be accompanied by a number of PSNI officers, who are routinely armed.

Mr Dunwoody said:

"We are giving them a feel of the operational context. The big thing about policing in Northern Ireland is that we rely heavily on community policing. The impression that the officers from GB leave will remain long after they have gone.

"There is no feeling that we are carrying the mutual aid officers. Every one of the officers is trained and experienced."

He explained that officers from the mainland are more used to dealing with peaceful protests, and so can bring expertise in dealing with the various demonstrations planned around the event.

Various protests are planned around the time of the summit, with the biggest on 17 June, attracting possibly 20,000 demonstrators.

A ''small number'' of protesters will travel to Northern Ireland from the mainland and Europe.

Head of the security operation Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said last month that he expects dissident attacks will take place during the summit, but not in key areas.

Mr Dunwoody said:

"We can't train for every scenario but we've trained for ballistic threat, we've trained for rioters throwing a blast bomb. We've given them training based on the risks that we may face.'"

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