A training exercise to test the response of the emergency services to a terrorist attack took place at a number of locations in West Yorkshire over the past few days.
The exercise was led by Counter Terrorism Policing North East and involved participants from a variety of agencies, including regional forces, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
The scenario saw first responders from the emergency services deal with a marauding terrorist firearms attack and resolve a siege situation involving a large number of hostages. Participating agencies were tasked with detaining the suspects, managing the scene, protecting the public and rescuing the wounded.
This was one of a number of national counter terrorism exercises which routinely take place throughout the UK under the Government’s rolling exercise programme and forms part of the legal obligation of the emergency services and partner agencies to prepare and practice for major incidents under the Civil Contingencies Act.
Detective Superintendent Matt Davison is the Regional Coordinator for Protect and Prepare at the Counter Terrorism Policing North East. He said: “Exercises such as this are an important opportunity for us to test our skills and tactics and ensure that our multi-agency plans are as effective as they can be in managing incidents and keeping the public safe.
“It’s vital we train together for incidents of this nature and learn as much as possible from the range of challenges they present. All partners are fully committed to ensuring we are thoroughly prepared should the worst happen in our area.
“The noise from small pockets of exercise activity may have been heard locally. The exercise involved locations in Calderdale and Wakefield. However, we made every effort to keep disruption to a minimum and there was absolutely no risk to the public at any time. Neither was there any impact on the front line services of the police or our regional emergency partners, which continued as normal.
“We’re grateful for the patience and cooperation of local people and for the support we’ve received from our partners who assisted us in hosting this exercise (SSE and Together Housing). We’re really pleased with the dedicated and professional response to the incident by those taking part.
“Alongside our partners, we will now look to carry out a full debrief of the exercise to ensure we capture any additional learning and incorporate it into our major incident plans.”
Nick Hinde, SSE’s Site Manager at Ferrybridge said: “SSE and Ferrybridge Power Station have always had a close working relationship with the emergency services and are pleased that we were able to help facilitate this exercise at the Ferrybridge site. We would like to thank everyone involved for the consideration that they showed towards our neighbours in trying to keep disruption to a minimum, and for working so closely with our team at Ferrybridge to ensure that the exercise was carried out successfully and most importantly, safely.”
Caroline Grosvenor, Head of Sustainable Communities at Together Housing Group, added: “We work hard to keep our communities safe and it’s important we also help our partners to prepare for all eventualities so it is an absolute privilege to be able to help our dedicated emergency services with this important exercise.”