Olympic Training

Tuesday, 05 January, 2010

A new public order training facility the size of 70 football pitches became operational last month. Situated adjacent to the Scottish Police College it provides a potential centre for large-scale police public order training ahead of the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

The College, part of the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA), has entered into a five-year agreement with ScottishPower that will see the College expand by over 55-hectares in open land space for training exercises and much needed overflow car parking.

The importance of public order training for police officers across the UK was thrown sharply last month into the spotlight with the publication of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) Denis O'Conner's review of policing protests in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr O'Connor indicated that there must be change and improvement in the way British
police risk handle large-scale protests or risk losing the support of the public if they confront demonstrators with tactics seen as aggressive and unfair.

The 55-hectare space is the site of the former Kincardine Power Station, which had been in operation since 1958 and stopped generating approximately 15 years ago.

Director of the Scottish Police College, Mr.John Geates, welcomed the partnership with ScottishPower and the potential it now provides to the Tulliallan facility:"With two massive public events on the horizon in terms of the Olympic and Commonwealth games, the College has been considering how best to meet the increasing demands that are likely to come for public order training. As we develop our contribution to SPSA's five year Strategic Plan, we have been exploring whether public order training is a service that we could and should be offering.

"Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary in England and Wales makes it clear that the policing of protest events must evolve after the experiences of G20 and other recent events - and training is certainly at the heart of that.

"The College isn't currently able to offer this sort of training - partly due to the lack of a suitable space.That's why we were delighted when ScottishPower approached us about entering into a partnership. The extra land will provide ample room public order training and other large scale exercises.

"We now have all the capacity we need to mount training exercises on a mass scale if necessary. Now that this land is at our disposal, we can enter into more detailed discussions with our customers on how we can best use it to support Scottish policing.

"The extra land also solves a major space issue related to parking at the College.
We are still training very large numbers of new recruits to the Scottish police service, placing tough constraints on College parking.

Recruits are now parking their vehicles at the power station site, allowing parking space at the College to be freed up for visitors and regular day-to-day business users."

The agreement between Scottish Power and the College is an excellent example of
the private and public sector working in partnership.

Ewan McMillan, Station Manager generation, ScottishPower said,"We are delighted to enter into this partnership.

We pride ourselves on community relations and will help out wherever possible to make the site work for Scottish policing and other users."

The College has already extended use of the land to other 'blue light' agencies such as the Scottish Ambulance Service, who have been using the site this week for a 30 person training exercise. This collaborative approach is contributing to the Scottish government's call for closer collaboration and joint-working between public services.

Mr. Geates commented, "We are happy to share resources wherever possible, especially amongst other blue light agencies. This is a great opportunity to deliver better services by cutting across organizational boundaries and working together."

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