Gibraltar’s emergency services rehearsed their response to a terrorist incident in the Little Bay area yesterday, responding to a fictional scenario of an explosive device placed under a bus.
The exercise, known as LIVEX, afforded the emergency services an opportunity to practise their response plans and their ability to work with other relevant agencies including the Ministry of Defence.
“It has been painstaking, challenging event, and one that we hope we do not have to put into practice ever in the future,” said the Commissioner of Police, Ian McGrail.
“But if we do, at least Gibraltar has a fighting chance to resolve a situation such as this.”
In the scenario, a fictional attack on a bus in Little Bay had resulted in several deaths and multiple casualties.
The responders’ task was made more difficult by the possible presence of an explosive device which the terrorists had placed under the bus.
Meanwhile RGP officers hunted across the Rock for the perpetrators of the attack.
The ambulance crew and fire fighters together with the RGP and GDP dealt with the people involved in the bus incident as other RGP officers hunted for the perpetrators of the attack.
Once it was clear it was a terror attack, the next step of the training exercise kicked in and the Strategic Co-ordinating Group was convened in No.6 Convent Place under the leadership of Mr McGrail and the Minister for Civil Contingencies, Gilbert Licudi.
The group brought together members of various sectors in Gibraltar including the Convent, Port Authority, as well as the emergency services.
As information is communicated to the group, decisions are made such as should they close the frontier, should they stop all flights from landing or departing, likewise cruise ships and the protection of important venues such as the hospital.
In yesterday’s imaginary scenario it was decided to stem – though not in practice during the exercise – the flow of traffic entering the Rock and conduct extensive checks on any vehicle or persons leaving the Rock.
As the location of the incident was Little Bay, the group decided the airport could remain open.
At a press conference after the event, Mr Licudi said: “Clearly it is important that we test our resources regularly, and it is vital that we do so in a coordinated fashion.”
“Following an exercise such as this there are a series of de-briefs and reports compiled in order to learn lessons and improve on what, hopefully, will never come.”
Mr McGrail said: “Today I have seen great attitude, I have seen great commitment and great interest by all stakeholders concerned.”
“That provides a very reassuring sign and indication to ourselves as heads of departments and the Ministers in Government, but also to the whole of the population, that Gibraltar’s professionals are taking the security of the nation very seriously.”