The Home Office has recently organised a national counter-terrorism exercise called “Spring Resolve,” which aimed to test the emergency services’ collective response to a series of no-notice violent attacks across multiple regions. The exercise was planned in collaboration with various partner agencies, including the British Transport Police, Metropolitan Police, North Yorkshire Police, Counter Terrorism Policing North-East, London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, and Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
The exercise scenario involved multiple attacks in rapid succession in London, targeting the transport network and other publicly accessible locations. The second day of the exercise included a further no-notice attack at a publicly accessible location close to York city centre. The exercise tested effective multi-agency response and recovery arrangements, communication flows from attack scenes through strategic command centres, and directly into central government.
The agencies had set clear exercise objectives that were linked to the recommendations made following the Manchester Arena Inquiry – Volume 2. The exercise demonstrated how to bring together available information, reconcile potentially differing priorities, and make effective decisions together.
The Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat, emphasized the importance of such exercises to ensure that all agencies and departments are prepared for any type of attack, and he thanked all frontline services for their diligent and brave work to protect and safeguard the country and people in the face of complex threats.
Counter Terrorism Policing’s Senior National Coordinator for Protect and Prepare, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, highlighted the importance of testing plans regularly to ensure that everyone involved in the response to a terrorist attack is fully prepared. Strategic exercise lead for North Yorkshire Police, Superintendent Jason Dickson, also praised the exercise’s success in testing the strategic prioritisation and decision-making for the safe and effective deployment of specialist and non-specialist resources to scenes and the early consideration of recovery measures.
The exercise formed part of the regular counter-terrorism testing and exercising programme that takes place across the UK, and it aimed to enhance the agencies’ interoperability for better effectiveness.