Royal Gibraltar Police officers are undergoing training on a wide-ranging prospectus of counter terrorism policing supported by specialist officers from the UK.
This comes ahead of the introduction of counter terrorism legislation in Gibraltar which will equip officers with a very powerful tool kit to aid them in investigating potential terrorist activity.
A cross-rank section of police officers underwent capacity building with trainers from SO15 – the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command – in Gibraltar earlier this week.
The training session was also attended by officers from the Gibraltar Defence Police, as well as observers from the Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service and the ambulance service.
The SO15 specialist operations branch has been responsible for investigating a number of the high-profile terrorist incidents that took place in the UK in 2017, including the Manchester Arena bombings and the London Bridge attack.
The UK has been rocked by several terrorist atrocities in 2017, with the most recent attack taking place at Parsons Green tube station in September.
The officers who delivered the training in Gibraltar worked on the investigation into the rush-hour bombing which meant they were able to impart ‘lessons learnt’ from the experience to their RGP counterparts.
The training exercise stems from an overarching strategic outlook from the Gibraltar Contingency Council on counter terrorism policing and national security, Superintendent Ian McGrail explained in an interview with the Chronicle.
“The intention is that the officers who attended will roll-out this new outlook and this new approach to critical incident response to the whole of the service,” Mr McGrail said of the ‘train-the-trainer’ session.
He flagged how RGP officers undergo regular training in any case and explained that this programme is about bringing updated processes to the force.
As a result of forthcoming legislation in this area, the RGP also envisages a rolling programme of courses for its officers in order to provide a wide-ranging prospectus on counter-terrorism policing.
By way of example, Mr McGrail explained that officers are training around the periphery of counter terrorism to detect terrorism financing.
In another example, custody sergeants will also undergo training owing to the fact that provision for the detention of terror suspects is different to that of other criminal suspects.
“While we may not be dealing with terrorist investigations on a daily basis, we have to be abreast with current trends and how things evolve, and who better than S015 where this is their bread and butter,” Mr McGrail said.
A wave of terrorist atrocities over the last decade has changed the global terrorism landscape beyond recognition.
Gibraltar’s threat level remains at ‘substantial’ meaning that an attack remains a strong possibility, although there is no specific intelligence to suggest any specific threat to the Rock.
This is, however, kept under constant review and the RGP has developed a number of “innovative projects” to ensure a safer Gibraltar, Mr McGrail explained.
The underlying message is that Gibraltar’s security operators are well-structured, he added.
“Clearly yes, there’s margin for improvement and that’s what we are working on always, we cannot rest on our laurels at all.”
Additionally, there are more community orientated projects in the pipeline and these will be announced very shortly.
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