RGP and GDP recruits jointly carried out an intensive two-day public order training course at the Buffadero Training Camp.
The mixed group of recruits were put through their paces and successfully completed the very demanding programme.
As part of their training, recruits are placed in a simulated real life public disorder scenario ‘acted out’ by other police officers and are expected to hold the line and contain the situation they are dealing with.
“The aim of the course was to expose recruits to the high intensity physical and mental pressures they would experience and see how they would react in such a scenario,” said GDP Training Coordinator Sergeant Robert Dickson.
The training was part of the ongoing 16 week programme being undertaken by the current intake of police recruits before they assume their duties as fully fledged operational police officers.
RGP and GDP now have unified training in areas such as firearms, marine section and in Public Order Unit tactics and procedures.
The exercise allows recruits to acquire and develop basic skills required to deal with any public order problem, which in real life would be dealt with by the Public Order Unit, and to minimize its impact.
“By training together and having the same standards and policing code, it ensures that whenever RGP and GDP officers work alongside on joint operations they correctly understand and interpret the commands and tactics,” said Sergeant Dickson.
There are three main strands to the public order training, containing the disorder, protecting the public and protecting the officers involved themselves. The implementation of police cordons for a crowd control environment was also rehearsed.
Unless recruits come from a military background, this exercise would be the very first time they would encounter a scenario where violent disorder could potentially erupt.
Recruits also have to become acquainted with the specialist Personal Protection Equipment they have to wear when deployed to a public order scenario. This includes fire resistance overalls, boots, protective gloves, helmets and face masks, which would shield officers from petrol bombs in a riot.
Officers also have shields and batons “which would be used as a last resort.”
“Recruits are put through this training every time a new intake of novice officers comes in. Additionally, officers in the Public Order Unit undergo training every year in order to requalify to maintain standards,” said Sergeant Dickson.