Central Station in Newcastle
11 March 2019

A counter terrorism training exercise that took place on the Tyne and Wear Metro system has won a national award.

Northumbria Police, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) were recognised at the Counter Terror Awards for the emergency exercise, which took place at Central Metro Station in Newcastle on June 6 last year.

Emergency services from across North East England took place in the training exercise alongside Metro staff.

The exercise led by the Northumbria Force was held at the Metro Station Platform in Newcastle’s Central Station.

It was seven months in the planning and called on NEAS, TWFRS, Metro operators Nexus, Public Health England, Network Rail, British Transport Police, Newcastle City Council and a host of other partners, who came together and coordinated their response

The scenario saw the emergency services respond to an explosion, with agencies tasked with locating suspects, protecting the public and rescuing casualties.

In the days that followed, the teams were put through their paces testing the ongoing recovery process which would be in place following an attack.

Metro Services Director, Chris Carson, said: “I’m really pleased that the terror training exercise that was held on Metro has won a national award.

“All the first responders worked brilliantly with our own staff to test our response to a major incident on the transport system. By working with other agencies we are able to test and strengthen the continual training we do with our staff around safety and security for the Metro system and our passengers.”

Assistant Chief Constable for Northumbria Police David Felton said he was delighted the hard work of all those involved had been recognised nationally, following the independent nomination.

He said: “While a terror attack is something no police force hopes they ever have to deal with, it is important that we take the right steps to make sure we are prepared and ready to respond in the most efficient way possible, if that time ever comes.

“We regularly hold pre-planned training exercises with services and other organisations to test our collective response to major incidents and offer reassurance to the communities we serve.

“I would like to take this opportunity to praise the hard work of all those involved. While we led the exercise, we did not carry it out alone and could not respond to an incident like this without the support and assistance of our partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors.”

Andy Sessford, the lead planning officer at the North East Ambulance Service, said: “Training exercises are a vital part of our preparations for a major incident such as a terrorist attack.  It means all the emergency services are better prepared to protect the public and help people affected by an incident.”

TWFRS ACO, Alan Robson, said: “It is great that Exercise Stephenson has been recognised at the Counter Terror Awards. Testing and challenging ourselves, our procedures and equipment are an essential part of our role. Participation in multi-agency exercises of this scale not only provide reassurance to our communities but deliver excellent learning opportunities for all emergency services involved.”

The awards were organised by Public Sector Information Ltd and supported by Security and Counter Terror Expo (SCTX) and saw organisations and individuals from the UK and overseas come together and recognise the contributions to reducing the threat of global terrorism.