13 Nov 2018

National multi-agency exercise tests terror response

The emergency services, other public services and the government have undertaken a three-day exercise to rehearse their response to a major terrorist attack.

The simulated incident, which involved live activity in Westcott, Buckinghamshire, tested the multi-agency approach to responding to an attack involving hazardous materials. It was designed to ensure the right plans are in place to respond quickly and effectively.

The UK has the capability to respond to a range of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents, with the focus of this exercise simulated a chemical incident.

The exercise which involved more than 40 different agencies and more than 500 people is the largest of its kind to take place this year but is one of dozens of exercises organised annually.

Observers from police forces around the UK and representatives from governments around the world watched the exercise, which showcased the UK’s well-developed response to a terrorist incident.

Security Minister Ben Wallace, who chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency committee COBR as part of the exercise, said: “Exercises like these take place throughout the year to ensure that the emergency services and government are prepared to respond should an attack take place. They form one part of our comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.

“We don’t conduct these exercises to cause alarm. They should be a source of reassurance that we have plans in place to deal with the diverse range of threats we face.

“It is our ambition to stop attacks long before they happen and our police and security service have disrupted 13 Islamist and 4 extreme right wing plots since the beginning of 2017, however, anyone that has concerns or suspicions should report them to the police.”

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