Police Commissioner observes multi-agency counter-terror training exercise in Merseyside

A college of photos from the emergency services training exercise showing officers responding in a crisis

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner took the opportunity to observe how officers and staff would respond to a counter terrorism incident at a major training exercise held in Merseyside over the weekend.

More than 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.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “It was fantastic to observe this exercise and to witness how emergency services and partner agencies from across the North West meticulously plan and test their response to an unfolding emergency in such a realistic, yet controlled, environment.

“Thankfully, such incidents are very rare. I hope these plans will never be needed in a real life scenario but exercises such as this are vital in ensuring all emergency service personnel are fully prepared to respond to any unfolding situation.”

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."