Anger as train­ing day anti-ter­ror cops apol­o­gise for ‘of­fence’

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

VOL­UN­TEERS: Peo­ple in ear de­fend­ers and safety gog­gles take part in mock ‘at­tack’ GROVELLING po­lice chiefs have is­sued an apol­ogy for mak­ing the ‘sui­cide bomber’ used in a ter­ror­ist train­ing ex­er­cise ap­pear to be a Mus­lim.

As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Garry She­wan said on Twit­ter it was “unacceptable and I apol­o­gise for the of­fence caused”.

It came af­ter crit­i­cism on­line of the ex­er­cise say­ing mak­ing the ‘ter­ror­ist’ Is­lamic ‘ pan­ders to stereo­types and fur­ther di­vides us and in­crease anti-Mus­lim hate crime’.

Lead­ing calls for an ex­pla­na­tion was twit­ter user Siema Iqbal who asked them why the ter­ror­ist had shouted “Al­lahu Ak­bar” be­fore det­o­nat­ing the ‘de­vice’.

The ‘ bomber’ yelling ‘Al­lahu Ak­bar’ burst into Manch­ester’s Traf­ford Cen­tre on Mon­day night and det­o­nated his bomb as ter­ri­fied ‘ shop­pers’ ran for their lives.

Gun­fire and ex­plo­sions rang out through­out the night in the North West as anti-ter­ror po­lice swooped on the shop­ping cen­tre to deal with the ‘at­tack’.

Armed of­fi­cers used train­ing tech­niques and counter-ter­ror tac­tics to test their re­sponse to a Paris or Brus­sels-type at­tack in the ex­er­cise at the Traf­ford Cen­tre shop­ping com­plex on the out­skirts of Manch­ester.

Around 800 peo­ple were in­volved in the role-play ex­er­cise which started at mid­night at the en­trance to The Ori­ent food court when a man dressed all in black walked in and shouted at the crowd.

Mo­ments later an ‘ex­plo­sion’ rocked the food hall and vol­un­teers – wear­ing ear de­fend­ers and safety glasses – dropped to the floor.

Many were made up to look as if they had horror in­juries and oth­ers screamed out ‘in pain’.

Smoke filled the en­trance to the food court as vol­un­teers ran from restau­rants, as if they were try­ing to dash to safety.

Po­lice stressed there is no spe­cific threat to the shop­ping cen­tre and the ex­er­cise was planned last De­cem­ber.

But it has given them and busi­nesses the op­por­tu­nity to test their emer­gency ter­ror re­sponse.

The cur­rent UK ter­ror threat level is de­scribed as se­vere, mean­ing an at­tack is highly likely, ac­cord­ing to the se­cu­rity ser­vices.

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