CORRINGHAM played host to a community engagement day in which members of the public joined forces with the police to understand counter terrorist policing operations.
Representatives from the Thurrock Council, an independent advisory group and disability forum participated in a table-top exercise based on an explosion in a fictional town. They played the role of operational and senior police officers as the investigation developed.
Neighbourhood policing officers were on hand to share their experiences and knowledge with others.
Sgt Debbie Fordham was delighted with the enthusiasm and commitment from the local community and the council in making the day a success.
“I’m proud to have been involved in the organisation of this event which is vital in securing the support of residents and people from minority backgrounds when such terrorist events occur,” said Sgt Fordham.
“It was very useful to hear a multitude of views which certainly broadened everyone’s minds, but it was also important for us to ensure that all sections of the community understand our operational and strategic decisions throughout such incidents.”
An important and large aspect of modern-day terrorist operations is the media management. A mock news conference was held with participants grilled by a police press officer who took on the role of a journalist, enabling them to appreciate and empathise with the pressures faced by police when confronted with such often hostile and challenging questions.
Thurrock IAG Chair Ben Williams said: “Taking part gave us an insight into the kinds of decisions the police have to make in extreme situations and will ultimately give us all a better understanding of counter-terrorism procedures.
“It demonstrated how agencies and communities can work together to defeat terrorism.”
The ACT (All communities Together) NOW roadshow will eventually hit all towns throughout Essex, with the newly-formed community engagement team playing a core role in its delivery.