PSNI preparing for every eventuality – but pushing for normal business as G8 looms

Police undergoing public order training

Police undergoing public order training

AT STEEPLE in County Antrim, the PSNI train for situations in a variety of ways.

And, as the picture shows – training covers even the most extreme of cases.


On Thursday last, at a training programme within the complex, two units of officers were trained in what could essentially have been deemed a ‘practice’ riot.

Chief Inspector, and area commander for Fermanagh, Sue Steen, by way of commentary, explained that two units of officers who were seen receiving specific training around a range of public order tactical options, were dealing with, essentially, a riot – or serious public disorder situation where missiles and petrol were being thrown.

“That training is our regular training that officers receive on a regular basis. That training is not specifically designed for G8,” she stressed.

“What the training team have done here is increase their capability to ensure that we can get more officers trained.

“So, as a contingency, if that tactic is needed at the G8 or some other kind of event in the summer, then we have that availability of officers.”

A range of training  takes place within the Steeple complex, from evidence gathering to personal safety training, and traffic training.

According to Chief Inspector Steen approximately 98% of tactics employed are around facilitating peaceful protest, for example crowd management, sports matches or Saturday night policing.


Chief Inspector Steen said the PSNI were ‘professionally making sure’ that  all officers are trained and available to deploy a range of tactics.

“Obviously the G8 has historically been the focus of attention for various kinds of protest.”

Inspector Gerry McGrath, who trains officers at Steeple, acknowledged that a substantial number of PSNI officers are trained to this level – and many have been put to use recently during the Union flag dispute in Belfast.

He spoke of the G8: “If you look at the G8 and what the figures and expectations are around that, it is clearly a massive event, and that’s why there’s a piece of work around English, Scottish and Welsh forces coming to assist us.”

And Chief Inspector Steen commented said the primary importance lay in keeping the community safe.

Officers outside of Northern Ireland will soon be briefed on the way policing is undertaken in Fermanagh, while ensuring normal business can continue as best is possible.

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