Mock chemical terror attack in Birmingham city centre

Terror was brought to the streets of Birmingham today – but it was all part of a mock exercise taking place in the city.

Police officers, firefighters and members of the Army, as well as around 150 volunteers, descended on the ICC on Broad Street for the simulated terrorist attack, which was taking place as part of a major European exercise.

Officers donning gas masks were at the scene, while emergency services vehicles, tents and officers took to the water on the nearby canal as part of the simulation.

The scenario involved the release of a chemical during a conference in Hall 5 of the ICC.

Researchers from King’s College London were analysing the reaction of volunteers who were at the conference as part of a research project looking at public responses to extreme events.

The study will help identify practices and procedures that can make emergency response more effective.

Today’s exercise was co-ordinated by West Midlands Police in conjunction with CBRNE Ltd and was an opportunity for blue-light services and the local authority to evaluate emergency procedures in the West Midlands.

The exercise is the first of three taking place across Europe over the next two years as part of an EU-funded initiative to improve the preparedness and resilience of member states to a terrorist attack.

The other exercises will be in Sweden next year and Poland in 2015.

Ch Supt Chris McKeogh said: “This exercise provides a great opportunity for all of those involved to look at procedures in place for an emergency such as this and put them into action.

“This way, we can evaluate more effectively where we need to further develop our plans and procedures.

“Today’s exercise is a unique opportunity to play a key role in an international project alongside a large number of other local and international agencies and organisations. We are very advanced already in our ability to deal with major incidents and it’s a testament to the expertise and professionalism of the emergency services in the West Midlands that Project Practice

and CBRNE Ltd chose Birmingham as the setting for such an important piece of work.”

Comments for: "Mock chemical terror attack in Birmingham city centre"

John

Selling fear is big business. It's also ironic this EU-funded initiative doesn't include taking action against the bankers, politicians and offshore interests terrorizing the British economy. The same entities running our border checks. Hypocrites. In this region in particular, I would say that most people are more worried about where their next meal is coming from. You're more likely to fear pollution from a factory fire than you are a terrorist - and riddle me this: don't you think that if a terrorist wanted to do something, they'd have done it already? This is about making the sheep even more hysterical, and even more willing to give up their rights in exchange for misguided freedom.

John

Why did they choose Birmingham.. did they assume the populace is more susceptible to fear-mongering? I think the populace is actually waking up this time round..

Rob

The officers who put themselves at risk to save others practicing joint working and using their equipment? How dare they, what a waste of time!

The comments of E&S readers are depressingly predictable, everything and everybody is always wrong. Not a single news story is ever taken as positive. Clearly John would prefer the emergency services to turn up to incidents without the faintest idea of how to work together or how to use their gear.

The part stating that if terrorists wanted to do something they would have already is amusing though, clearly some people have very short memories! in the last couple of months we have had two attempted mosque bombings and one successful one. Or does that not count as terrorism?

The procedures that the emergency services were testing are just as applicable in responding to factory fires and pollution incidents as to terrorism attacks, planning and practicing just seems like good sense to me!