THAMES Valley Police have this week taken part in another training exercise to prepare for a terrorist attack, just a month after a firearms training exercise was carried out at a Newbury school.
Police officers and military personnel were involved in the training in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, and Bas-ingstoke, Hampshire, on Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare for “a major incident”.
The exercise comes just weeks after police officers used Falkland Primary School for firearms training on three occasions throughout August.
The latest multi-agency exercise saw Thames Valley Police take part in the training to test major incident contingency plans and the response of the emergency services in the event of a major incident within the region.
However, police were quick to reiterate that the training was not in response to any specific threat.
The agencies taking part in the exercise include South East Counter Terrorism Unit, Thames Valley Police, Hampshire Constabulary and the military.
The exercise involved various scenarios being played out, including a “multi-site marauding terrorist firearms attack scenario”, and a covert surveillance operation in public spaces in the Thames Valley and Hampshire, followed by a covert hostage rescue.
The deputy chief constable of Thames Valley Police, John Campbell, said: “This is one of a number of routine and pre-planned exercises organised across the country to test the response of the emergency services.
“We carry out these exercises to test contingency plans and the co-ordination of the response to a major incident on a regular basis. This training is not being carried out in response to any specific threat.”
He added: “The exercise will not affect our resources or ability to keep our communities safe in the Thames Valley and Hampshire.
“ It will be business as usual for our thousands of officers and staff who are not involved in this training.
“Since August 2014, the threat to the UK from international terrorism has been graded as ‘severe’, meaning an attack is highly likely. As such I want to take this opportunity to remind the public to remain vigilant.
“We depend on information from the public.
“They can be our eyes and ears and help keep themselves and communities safe by reporting suspicious activity.
“You can report any suspicious activities to police on the confidential anti-terrorist hotline 0800 789 321.
“If you know anyone who might be potentially vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism or violent extremism you can contact your local police on 101 or visit www.preventtragedies. co.uk for further advice and guidance.
“If, in the unlikely event you get caught up in a weapons or firearms attack, remember to run, then hide, then tell the police.”