[T]he first stage of a simulated terrorist attack at intu Trafford centre finished this morning.
The exercise, codenamed Exercise Winchester Accord, began at midnight on Monday 9 May 2016 at intu Trafford Centre. Greater Manchester Police officers and other emergency services, including Merseyside Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and North West Ambulance Service, were deployed in the staged exercise, to test and evaluate the emergency services response to a major terrorist incident.
The first stage of the exercise at intu Trafford Centre took place whilst the centre was closed to the public, and ran from midnight and into the early hours.
Over the following two days the exercise will continue in locations in the North West, including Redbank Community Home, in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside on Wednesday 11 May 2016.
Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe said: “Stage one of the exercise finished this morning and will continue until Wednesday.
“Residents in the area may have heard loud noises and noticed emergency services around intu Trafford Centre in the early hours of this morning and I would like to thank them for their patience whilst this first stage of the exercise took place.
“Our priority is to stop terrorists from planning and orchestrating attacks and with exercises like this, we can put our response to the test in a safe environment, so we are fully prepared for a time when it may be critical.
“I want to make it clear that this is not linked to any specific terror threat or attack, but is an opportunity for us to make sure we are in the best position possible, should a terrorist attack happen in the North West.
“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the exercise and intu Trafford Centre for following us to use their centre. Their support in the planning of this exercise demonstrates their commitment to test their response to a major incident and protect their staff and customers.”
Richard Paxton, General Manager of intu Trafford Centre, said: “This exercise was a unique opportunity to test both intu Trafford Centre and the emergency services’ working practices on such a large scale. It was a great success and a worthwhile experience for everyone involved.”
Any suspicious activity or behaviour can be reported to police via the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline by calling 0800 789 321. Extremist or terrorist content online can be reported at www.gov.uk/report-terrorism.