Emergency services in South Wales have been testing their preparedness for terrorism incidents this week, taking part in a live-play exercise in collaboration with Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP).
The multi-agency exercise, which has involved Gwent Police, West Midlands Police, CTPHQ, CTP Wales, CTP West Midlands, South Wales Fire & Rescue Service, Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, St Johns Ambulance and Welsh Government took place over two consecutive days and involved around 300 people, including volunteers and members of the public.
’Blue light’ partners locally and regionally have been working with Counter Terrorism Policing to ensure major incident plans are well practised and familiar in the event of a terror attack.
The exercise was not in response to any specific threat or intelligence but is part of Counter Terrorism Policing’s regular testing and exercising programme, which sees similar events take place across the UK.
The exercise focused on a scenario involving a terrorist attack at a music event at Newport International Sports Village.
Gwent Police Assistant Chief Constable, Mark Hobrough, said:
“This was a welcome opportunity for Gwent Police to take place and support in a national CT exercise alongside our emergency services.
“We take exercises such as this very seriously in order to test our plans and ensure we are as prepared as possible in the event of a large-scale emergency.”
Preparation like this is vital to ensuring we can continue to help keep communities safe.”
CTP Wales Assistant Chief Constable, Wendy Gunney, said:
“This exercise provides us with the opportunity to test our plans and ensure that across policing, our ability to respond to these incidents is tried and tested.
“There is no current specific threat to Wales but we know that terror attacks could happen anywhere and at any time. We must be well prepared for that eventuality. This event was an opportunity for all agencies involved to work together collaboratively to test our response.
“These types of incidents can often present a complex picture in the initial stages, I’m grateful for the time, hard work and effort our officers and staff have put aside for this exercise, alongside our blue-light partners.”
CTPHQ National Coordinator for Protect & Prepare, Chief Superintendent Helen Williams, said:
“Significant incidents such as terror attacks like the scenario tested this week require all parts of policing and partners to work together, from community reassurance to national security services.
“Exercising provides a great opportunity for us to test our response alongside our colleagues in a safe environment. These exercises happen regularly all over the UK as part of the national testing and exercising programme ensuring we are always prepared should an attack happen.”
“Learning from this exercise will be shared nationally to help to all of policing and our partners prepare and refine the response to a terror attack”.
CTP Wales are grateful for the support from Newport Live who have, as a not for profit organisation, contributed by providing the venue and support for the exercise. Their intention throughout has been keeping the public who attend their venues as safe as possible for their events.
The threat to the UK from terrorism remains at substantial.
The public are crucial to the work of police forces and Counter Terrorism Policing in keeping people safe. If you see something doesn’t feel right, contact your local force or report it at gov.uk/ACT.