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Why there were more than 500 emergency services staff at Bromley The Glades centre

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The Metropolitan Police teamed up with London’s other emergency services to carry out the drill at The Glades shopping centre in Bromley.

The event was held in the evening on Sunday, February 25.

Once the shopping centre had closed for the day, the services’ tested a joint response to a staged major incident scenario.

Participants included staff and officers from across the Met, British Transport Police, London Ambulance Service, London Fire Brigade, and around 150 volunteers who played members of the public and casualties.

News Shopper: The training took place on Sunday, February 25 after The Glades had closedThe training took place on Sunday, February 25 after The Glades had closed (Image: Met Police)

The Met said that the exercise was not arranged in response to any specific threat or intelligence, but rather forms part of an ongoing programme of training for various major incidents.

Met Police Detective Chief Superintendent Kris Wright, the exercise director, said: “The Met’s core mission is to keep London’s communities safe, and having the opportunity to hold an exercise in a real town centre location is invaluable in ensuring our officers are well-prepared to deal with a range of incidents.

“Live-play exercises like this create a crucial sense of urgency, and prepare first-responders for what they may face in reality.

“We thank The Glades and Bromley Council for hosting and supporting this exercise.

“Training like this allow us to develop our good working relationships with all our local and regional partners, and it helps them strengthen their plans for when bad things happen.”

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Kris Wright added: “Emergency response to a major incident is always a team effort, so it is imperative that we ensure joint processes are as robust as possible.

“We rely on information from communities, and would remind people to contact police if you have information about crime and anti-social behaviour in your area – your call could prevent serious harm.”

The drill was centred around a fictional scenario, involving a series of knife attacks within a half-hour period, motivated by terrorism.

News Shopper: The fictional scenario was a series of linked knife attacks in a 30 minute periodThe fictional scenario was a series of linked knife attacks in a 30 minute period (Image: Met Police)

The exercise aimed to test various aspects of the response, including casualty management, the change from response to recovery, command and control, communication, and the effectiveness of collaboration between the different emergency services.

Some volunteers wore special effects makeup to act as realistic casualties.

Bromley Council also helped with the exercise, opening part of their building to establish a notional survivor reception centre, with council staff working with officers to operate it.

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A spokesperson from The Glades said: “We extend our gratitude to all participants and the Bromley community for your support during the training exercise, it was an incredible experience for our team.”

As part of their training programme, the Met led another exercise in January on the Thames in east London.

The police are reminding the public that although the UK terrorism threat level stands at “substantial”, meaning an attack is likely, people should not be alarmed but should remain vigilant.

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