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How police faced petrol bombs and flying bricks near Cambridge

Riot police faced petrol bombs and bricks being hurled at them by hundreds of students near Cambridg..

By admin , in Cambridge , at May 2, 2018

Riot police faced petrol bombs and bricks being hurled at them by hundreds of students near Cambridge – in a frightening training exercice.

A top officer has spoken to the News what officers have to tackle in the face of disorder and the threat of violence.

Members of Cambridgeshire constabulary taking part in riot training. Picture: Keith Jones

Inspector Iain Clarke, who heads Cambridgeshire police's training centre in Alconbury Weald, was speaking to the News as officers were put through a 'real life' riot involving students from Cambridge Regional College playing protesters.

The exercise, run by the Operational Planning and Support Unit (OPSU), consisted of student officers being trained in tactics and techniques to deal with protest, violence and serious public disorder, taking into account the use of force and human rights legislation.

Members of Cambridgeshire constabulary taking part in riot training. Picture: Keith Jones

Insp Clark said: "What you've seen today is the completion of a week's training for some new police officers, they're not new to policing but they are new to the public order world and we have create a live scenario to test their skills, to put them under pressure so it's not in a classroom-type environment.

"This is as close as we can get to a live deployment where they will face some of the issues we're going to put in front of them."

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The officer draws on his own experience such as the riots in London in 2011 when officers from the Cambridgeshire force were called in to support the Met Police.

He said: "I've been in several disorders of varying magnitudes. It's scary for the first time, it's confusing, it's noisy, a lot of it happens at night but during the day it can be quite challenging too because it can be quite chaotic until you get control – and it's a lot of people involved, lots of hazards to think about.

Inspector Iain Clarke

"The main thing is to keep us safe and not to hurt others."

Asked if any officer had given up after being involved in their first incident of disorder, he said: "We haven't experienced that because we like to think the training that we give, gives them that experience and confidence in the tactics we use and confidence in their commanders."

Members of Cambridgeshire constabulary taking part in riot training. Picture: Keith Jones

The officer also teaches trainees crowd psychology and tells them they must prepare to deal with anything from verbal abuse to guns.

He said: "I tell them they can expect to have things thrown at them, they can expect to be verbally abused and pushed and if you go back to the riots across the country in 2011, firearms were used, knives were used, so it goes across a whole raft of anything they would face on a daily basis.

Members of Cambridgeshire constabulary taking part in riot training. Picture: Keith Jones

"We give them the best protection we can and the training can prepare them for all that.

"In a city like Cambridge we get a lot of protests which have happened historically over the years so that's mainly what we do in Cambridge, as well as football."

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