Dedicated students who helped make an emergency exercise a massive success have been given a unique reward.
The Hartlepool College of Further Education representatives were involved in one of the largest outdoor emergency exercises ever undertaken on Teesside.
Their reward was a trip to the tactical training centre which is used for the training of armed police officers.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, presented them with certificates and said: “Inviting the students is our way of saying thank you for their involvement on the day of Exercise Sandpiper. Their role was extremely important and the exercise needed them to make it as real as possible for the emergency responders. I hope that they had an enjoyable day.”
Exercise Sandpiper took place in January across sites in Hartlepool and Stockton.
The first stage was in Stockton, where a mock armed robbery had taken place followed by a serious vehicle collision with multiple injuries. The college students acted as casualties.
A second scenario took place near Wolviston Services, in which a vehicle was set alight, before the final, largest stage of the exercise unfolded at the former Jackson’s Landing site on Hartlepool Marina.
Weeks beforehand, the derelict building had been converted internally into a mock college called “Sandpiper” by construction students from the college.
They created a realistic layout of rooms and corridors to test the abilities of the emergency services teams after the criminals took an unknown number of hostages inside after shooting their way into the building.
A large number of Hartlepool students played shooting victims and hostages. The mock exercise resulted in the arrest of two suspects and one suspect being declared dead at the scene.
All the students who took part were invited to attend a special tour of the Tactical Training Centre at Urlay Nook, near Eaglescliffe.
They got to try the Professional Range Instruction Simulator (PRISim) training room, where specially converted firearms shoot lasers at high definition video images to simulate tactical situations. They also saw demonstrations of live firing, and fire officers and paramedics honing their skills.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal said: “We received a lot of support for Exercise Sandpiper, from both the public and private sector. We would not have been able to arrange an exercise of this size without the help we received from the students and volunteers who gave us their time on the day and so it is important that we thank them for their assistance.”