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.”