Wednesday 24 May 2017

Watch armed police carry out an counter-terrorism exercise on the Thames

By Grace Rahman

There were some unnerving sights on the River Thames today.

A counter-terrorism training exercise held on the Thames shows how armed police would respond to a terrorist incident on a river cruiser.

This was the first time the Metropolitan Police, along with other emergency services, have acted out a terrorism scenario on the Thames.

In what the force call a “live-play exercise”, code named Exercise Anchor, more than 200 police officers and staff practised what they would do in the event of armed terrorists hijacking a passenger boat, taking hostages and sailing from the relatively quiet Isle of Dogs up to central London.

“The terrorism threat against the UK and London is at severe, an attack is highly likely” said Metropolitan Police Commander, BJ Harrington.

“Today you saw a number of agencies coming together who are responsible and have the task of working on the river to tackle this kind of threat.”

The exercise covered every step of a potential incident, from handling the initial 999 call, all the way to getting hostages off the boat once it had been secured.

Marine-trained sniffer dogs also boarded the suspect vessel and search and rescue teams were tested when a dummy body fell overboard.

“I hope that the demonstration today for the people of London shows that public agencies are prepared,” said Harrington.

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