Petrol bombs and flying objects: What it takes to be a riot officer

The training session that happened today

The training session that happened today - Credit: Archant

Student police officers from Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire constabularies attended a riot training session, where they were faced with a number of different tasks to deal with.

The training session today

The training session today - Credit: Archant

The exercise, which was held at Alconbury Weald, saw the officers trained in tactics and techniques to deal with protest, violence and serious public disorder, balancing the use of force and the application of human rights legislation.

The training day was run by the operational planning and support unit, which is responsible for public order training, operational planning, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Officers were given a number of scenarios, such as peaceful protests and riots, and had to use the training they have been given to try and diffuse the situation. The training scenarios included officers having petrol bombs thrown at them, along with pieces of wood and other debris, and they were also subjected to physical and verbal abuse.

Inspector Ian Clark, operational support inspector for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police, said: “What we are doing today, is the final day of a five day initial public order training course.

The training session that happened today

The training session that happened today - Credit: Archant

“This is an exercise is to test the tactics and lessons that we have taught the officers this week, they have had no introduction to public order police before this so this is to put everything that they have learnt this week into a life scenario and be as close to reality as we can make it.”

Insp Clark also spoke of the importance of the training exercise in encouraging officers to have confidence in the equipment as well as themselves.

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He said: “What we have done is work them through a series of nationally approved tactics which range from dealing with passive protest crowds, to escorting people all the way up to dealing with riots and dealing with violent offenders and petrol bombs and to manage themselves in that sort of situation.”

More than 80 Cambridge Regional College uniformed service students took part in the exercise, acting as protestors.

Police officers were taught how to deal with riots

Police officers were taught how to deal with riots - Credit: Archant

The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Operational Planning and Support Unit (OPSU) is an integral part of the Joint Protective Services and has been centrally based in Alconbury since May 2015.

The team provides training, advice and support over a variety of functions including operational planning, public order and public safety, advanced method of entry, water responders and body recovery.