Four-minute response time to terror attack training exercise

A counter-terrorist attack training exercise, with mass casualties, has been carried out by An Garda Síochána.

It took four minutes for a patrol vehicle to arrive at the scene and then it was another four minutes until the Armed Support Unit was on site.

The exercise took place at a train station in Dublin city centre yesterday morning in real time, with responding gardaí unaware of the location or details of the attack.

In the exercise, two men crashed a vehicle outside a train station and knocked a woman down.

One of them had a firearm and the other had a knife. They then made their way into the train station, stabbing two women en route.

Inside in the station, there were 10 more people injured.

The man with the gun then boarded a train and took it hostage.

“This was the most realistic simulation possible and it was real time. So your first response car took approximately four minutes to arrive. Your first armed response vehicle, upon receiving the call, was another four minutes after that and then the units came in real time.

“It wasn’t conducted showing the guards arrived in the first minute or two and dealt with it. It was done in real time and real scenarios,” Inspector Danny Colohan told the Irish Examiner.

Inspector Colohan is part of the Armed Support Unit in the southern region and is attached to Anglesea Street station.

He explained how the responding members of An Garda Síochána were alerted to and dealt with the simulated event.

“Initially, the call came in of a traffic accident, that people were knocked down.

“On the arrival of a uniformed, unarmed Garda car, they realised there was something more to the scenario, in that they found that the first casualty that was knocked down was also stabbed.

“Two other females were stabbed in the vicinity and a fourth escaped from the train station also suffering from stab wounds,” said Inspector Colohan.

“At that stage, they requested armed support and that was provided by the Dublin Armed Support Unit initially one vehicle, followed a minute later by two and a third vehicle within five minutes of the call from the unarmed members,” he added.

The Armed Support Unit made its way into the train station moving as a single entity requesting that the attacker shows his hands and drop his knife.

The man was shot and the casualties were attended to.

Next, the unit moved out to the train where the hostages were being held at gunpoint.

Negotiators dealt with the attacker and hostages began fleeing from the carriage.

The attacker ran out on to the platform with a pointed gun but was shot by a sniper.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan observed the exercise and said her members’ response demonstrated the capability to deal with attacks of this nature.

“We train regularly with intervention forces right across Europe. We’ve done that over the last number of years. I think today has demonstrated the professionalism and the capability that we have,” Commissioner O’Sullivan said.

“Ireland is a really safe place. We have no intelligence to say a threat such as this is going to happen here but we have to be realistic. We have to look at what’s happening in other jurisdictions. We have to make sure we are prepared and agile enough to respond,” she added.


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