“I have a space in my team, would you like to ‘kit up’ and join us?” Well I only needed to be asked once as you can only really tell what it is like being a police officer trained in public order work by donning the necessary kit.
The kit has to be comprehensive: shoulder guards, elbow guards, groin guard, flame retardant hood, helmet, short shield and flame retardant outer clothes. Once I had it all on the issue was then moving with it all on! After running around for 15-20 minutes the medic who accompanies the training advised me to step aside. As I caught my breath, I watched the petrol bombing exercise and the police who were also expert at making them.
I could not help but be impressed that police officers volunteer for this training which involves being set on fire. There has been a decline in officers coming forward for training as being “level 2″ trained can make your shift pattern unpredictable, but I do wonder if this is also linked to the lack of pay increment for obtaining such training.
It was a real privilege to see this training and I shall return to Gravesend to see the firearms training in the near future.