Caught on camera: West Midlands Police tackle bombs, fire, and smoke

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Don't worry, West Midlands Police were not involved in a real riot, they filmed themselves during a recent riot training exercise.

Sergeant Russell Webb wore a camera on his chest as he led a team against an angry mob of petrol-bomb throwing thugs ? played by colleagues ? under control, inside a disused aircraft hangar in Shropshire.

"It was my job to steer the team through the disorder safely whilst implementing plans and objectives from the inspector," said Sgt Webb, "there's got to be a degree of proactivity, but with safety in mind at all times.

"We were pelted with petrol bombs from the 'crowd' but there's not much we can do about that at the time. There would be a post-incident investigation afterwards to try and identify the people responsible and arrests would follow from there."

"The idea is that we make it as realistic as possible," explained Inspector John Pickard, from the WMP Learning and Development team.

"We want to put the maximum amount of danger and threat into a scenario but in a controlled way, which means the students can learn to trust their equipment and they are given exposure to making rational split-second decisions."

The training school is one of the biggest of its type in the country and teaches up to 3,000 officers each year from forces across the nation.

"A lot of the time in these types of situations we are simply caught in the middle of two separate arguments and are trying to help both sides resolve their issues peacefully," added Insp Pickard.

"As a result part of the course is also academic ? looking at crowd psychology, crowd dynamics and decision making models. It's not all running around with batons and shields."

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