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New training ground will prepare Cumbria police for riots

Explosions, a shower of missiles and a blazing inferno tested the mettle of police and firefighters as the cutting edge in emergency training arrived in Cumbria yesterday.

Police riot ground photo
'Rioters' attack police on the training ground

Officers and crews showed the skills and know-how they might need during a mock-up of the life-threatening alerts that a new £200,000 joint training ground will prepare them for.

Senior officers heralded the development, near Penrith, as “a great foundation” for further link-ups between the two services to help both them and the public.

The new training ground to prepare police for riots and firefighters for blazes was opened with a demonstration of the tactics that will be practised upon it throughout the year.

Emergency services say it is a major investment but add it will cut training and travel costs, with officers and crews currently having to go out of the county to hone their skills.

Based at Cumbria Constabulary’s Carleton Hall headquarters, it is made of a large concrete surface, complete with metal walls and closed-in areas. These can be used for police public order training and skills such as the practice of searching techniques.

A “fire behaviour unit” on site – a metal container that can be used to simulate an enclosed room or a burning building – will be used to train in putting out flames and saving lives.

Police have paid £150,000 towards the costs, with £50,000 being put forward by the county fire service.

Both senior and rank-and-file employees from the two services were among the crowd watching at the opening as firefighters at first showed how they would tackle a blaze in their new unit.

The conditions they faced inside are similar to what they would come up against with a kitchen or living room fire.

Then police posing as rioters hurled missiles and burning objects at fellow officers trained to deal with public disorder.

The massed ranks, protected by their shields, faced down an onslaught of heat, smoke and flying objects to demonstrated techniques such as driving rioters back from a simulated road junction and capturing a gang ring leader.

Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said it would not just be used for training for situations such as riots. Police could practice the skills that would come in useful when facing dangerous people or breaking down doors to drugs dens.

“It is as close to reality as we can get,” he said. ““It’s great that police and fire can use it together.

Ian Cartwright, Cumbria’s deputy chief fire officer, added: “The bread and butter of our work is to go into burning buildings, rescue people and put out fires. It’s fundamental firefighters maintain the high level of skills they have.”

Have your say

@ Mr.Sensible; "who would you expect to protect you and your property?" Yeah right, because thats what riot police do. Come off it. One of th biggest accusations aimed at the police during last years riots was that the police DID NOT do anything of the sort.Riot police are Govt. tools for cracking heads.

Posted by rod on 1 March 2012 at 09:10


If you're not job i'll eat my cap.


Posted by Anony Mouse on 1 March 2012 at 09:08

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