Police and special forces carry out major counter-terrorism exercise in Wales
Hundreds of officers from the emergency services from across South Wales were involved in the exercise
Police and special forces have carried out a major counter-terrorism exercise designed to simulate a Paris-style gun and bomb attack on a public venue.
Hundreds of officers from emergency services across South Wales were involved in Operation Red Kite at the Ffos Las racecourse near Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire.
Police have stressed that the operation was not staged as a result of intelligence about threats to specific targets in Wales, but was part of overall security planning and had been on the drawing board for the last 12 months.
The operation saw armed terrorists attacking the racecourse, taking hostages and occupying a number of buildings near the track’s winners’ enclosure.
Armed police from the joint South Wales, Dyfed-Powys and Gwent firearms team, along with specialist military units, then responded.
The two-day exercise is taking place at several locations across south and west Wales and involves South Wales Police, Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police, Gloucestershire Constabulary, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, the Home Office and the Welsh Government.
The media has been asked not to describe the tactics and methods used during the exercise at Ffos Las.
Once the scene was secured on Tuesday, ambulance, fire and other emergency crews practiced dealing with multiple casualties.
The operation was overseen by former South Wales Police assistance chief constable Jon Stratford.
He said: “This isn’t being hosted in Wales because we think there is a threat to Wales. This is part of a rotating exercise programme.
“Clearly, we model our scenarios upon the prevailing threat and so Paris and Belgium do feature heavily in these scenarios.”
Mr Stratford urged the public not to be alarmed by the exercise, and explained that they were intended to be as realistic as possible.
Follow-up exercises will take place on Wednesday at a number of locations in South Wales.
Residents living near Ffos Las Racecourse and Llantrisant Common, in Rhondda Cynon Taff, were expected to become aware of a large number of emergency service vehicles and were likely to hear loud noises, simulated explosions and “blank” gunfire during exercise on Tuesday.
The exercise wasn’t intended to affect the day-to-day policing of South Wales and Dyfed-Powys and the emergency service response of the other agencies. These will continue as normal.