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Armoured vehicle training for officers ahead of G8 summit

More than 700 police officers from across Great Britain have been trained to drive the type of specialist armoured vehicles used in Northern Ireland ahead of their deployment to the region to provide security at the G8 summit.

Driving instructors from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) were seconded to five driving schools in England, Scotland and Wales to train 730 officers.

Around 3,600 UK Mutual Aid officers from around GB will be supporting around 5,000 PSNI officers in the massive policing operation over the duration of next month's summit.

While the world's most powerful political leaders meet at the secluded Lough Erne resort in Co Fermanagh, security will be tight across the region, with major anti-capitalist protests already planned in Belfast.

The Scottish Police College, Merseyside Police Driving School, Greater Manchester Police Driving School, South Wales Police Driving School and the Metropolitan Police Driving School facilitated the Police Service of Northern Ireland driver training.

All officers received intensive one-to-one training on how to drive the Land Rover-like vehicles and manage their specific handling characteristics.

They were also trained on health and safety issues arising from driving or being carried in the vehicles.

Driving instructors from the various police driving schools were also trained on the vehicles to allow them to continue supervising practise before the G8 deployments.

PSNI Head of Training and Development, Chief Superintendent Kevin Dunwoody said: "The Police Service of Northern Ireland Traffic and Driver Training Unit delivers the highest standard of driver training and this specific course was designed to provide mutual aid officers with the knowledge and skills required for safe, effective operational deployment during the G8 Summit.

"Seven hundred and thirty officers were successfully trained. All of these officers were already experienced drivers of police emergency vehicles."

Chief Supt Dunwoody said the additional training was provided to familiarise the officers with the specific features of armoured vehicles.

"They now have the appropriate level of expertise required to assist with the significant policing operation that will be in place around G8. The officers were very impressed by the standards of the PSNI training and are looking forward to their deployment in Northern Ireland".

PA Media