Wednesday, 17 February 2010
You Keep Calm - I'll Panic For You
It probably creates a little bit of fear in you when the security status raises. For me I run to the books to ensure I'm as up to date as I can be with the latest contingencies. That's because I could be called upon to coordinate the initial response to any major incident.
So how much training have I had for this? If you have visions of me moving imaginary hoards of police units around a large table you are in for a big disappointment. It boils down to a bit of knowledge around command and control. If you are a regular reader you might just pick up on my concerns around lack of bodies to deal with the demand we have to currently cope with.
It's relatively simple in theory, an incident happens and to deal with it you break up the jobs and delegate somebody to sort them out. For example securing the scene with cordon tape to ensure you can then deal with any casualties. Theory is OK but without proper training, how do we know how we'll react under the immense pressure of an ongoing incident. I don't know how I'd react but hope I could detach myself from trying to be hands on and put in place the building blocks needed.
What I do know is that for that initial 30 minutes until resources start arriving from surrounding Divisions and Central Reserve it will be total chaos. In amongst all the chaos I would be expected to record every decision and consideration in a written log of events. I'm supposed to do that on smaller incidents too and I can assure you it's easier said than done. It would be easier to record these into an MP3 player for later dictation.
There's no substitute for experience and I have been used on the cordon's for major incidents. You would think that people would realise that with police tape across a road and a uniformed officer stood there, it is a hint not to proceed further. Not the case I'm afraid as they quite happily lift the tape up to try and continue in to the sterile area. The reaction towards you is often hostile and downright rude.
If the worst does happen here's hoping everybody does keep calm. It was rather humbling to see how the public reacted to the 7th July bombings in London and just took all the inconvenience on the chin. Makes you feel proud to be British, which you can't say too much these day's.
I'd prefer some more realistic training for all of the team, but somehow think it isn't going to happen - let's hope it's the same with the security threat.