Police to use university as firearms training ground and urge residents 'not to be alarmed'

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Humberside Police has announced its firearms and specialist operations team will use training grounds at the University of Hull and urged residents 'not to be alarmed'.

The Yorkshire police force's specialist operations unit will use the university's site at The Lawns in Cottingham to carry out training from today.

Humberside Police has announced its firearms and specialist operations team will use training grounds at the University of Hull despite safety concerns from local residents.

Humberside Police has announced its firearms and specialist operations team will use training grounds at the University of Hull despite safety concerns from local residents.

Firearms officers and police dogs will practise how to handle large scale public order incidents using the Ferens Hall - a former hall of residence at the campus.

Chief Superintendent Christine Wilson described the move as a "fantastic opportunity" which will allow officers and staff to further develop the skills needed to keep communities safe.

She said: “I know how important The Lawns is for those living in Cottingham and I am aware of concerns shared locally about safety and security.

“I hope that having our teams regularly on site it will offer some reassurance to the community. We will be working closely with the security team at The Lawns to help keep it safe and to prevent any crime or antisocial behaviour in the area.

“There will be a whole range of different scenarios and exercises that we will be doing at the hall, these will all be carefully planned, with all the necessary considerations taken into account and steps taken to ensure the safety of everyone in the area."

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Those living near by have been warned that they may hear shouting, bangs and other loud noises as a result.

Chief Supt Wilson said residents should not be alarmed.

"We will never use live ammunition, and the scenarios that are being played out are set up often using volunteers to play members of the public involved," she said.

“It is important that people do not go onto the site without the permission of a security guard or police officer.

“As well as our firearms training, and public order training we will also regularly have our police dogs there completing training. There will be occasions where the dogs will be running around and carrying out searches outside as well as in the hall itself.

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"I know that our dogs are incredibly popular with the public but for safety reasons it is imperative that people stay away when they are on site.

“We will be regularly maintaining the fence to make sure that the area is secure and there will be clear signs around warning people of the danger, but I am asking people to please be aware that we are training for dangerous situations and it is not safe for unauthorised people to be on site.

“We feel very lucky to be able to use this facility for training, with many of our officers and staff having studied at the University of Hull, some of which even lived at the Lawns as students.

“This is a really exciting venture for us and I hope to host an opportunity to showcase the work our specialist operations unit do once we are settled in.”

Stephen Dale, Director of Estates at the University of Hull, said: “We are pleased to be working with Humberside Police to offer the use of Ferens Hall for the incredibly important work they do with the Specialist Operations teams, helping officers train for potentially life-saving incidents.

“Since the site was last used, our priority has been to ensure safety and security. We will be working with a number of organisations, including schools, the police and fire services to take a holistic approach to this. Our security team at the Lawns will now work with Humberside Police, who will regularly be on site training. We are delighted to be able to offer a local venue for officers to be able to train for future incidents."