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Terror at the terminal – police stage airport scare

Essex Police officers worked with staff at Stansted Airport as part of a training exercise.

To the untrained eye, it may at first look like the grimly familiar scenarios played out at travel terminals the world over in recent years – armed police responding to a crisis situation.

But look a little closer and all becomes clear.

The scene at Stansted Airport was actually a mock-up, with staff and police officers taking part in the simulation of a terror attack.

The scenario – run by the Manchester Airports Group and involving a terrorist firearms attack during which police officers intercepted a number of subjects – took place between midnight and 3am on Saturday, and formed part of an ongoing training and exercising programme ensuring Essex Police officers and airport staff are ready for any challenge.

Deputy airport commander Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown said: “This was a really positive exercise where we were able to test our response to a would-be terror attack.

Armed officers taking part in a training exercise (Essex Police/PA)

“During the live play, we tested our tactical response to terrorists with firearms and how we would deal with the challenge in practice.

“Stansted is the UK’s fourth busiest airport and more than 26 million passengers pass through there each year so it’s essential we’re prepared for any eventuality.

“There’s no specific intelligence currently to suggest there may be an attack at Stansted but as the UK terror threat level is at ‘severe’ it’s really important we carry out these exercises to make sure we’re ready should the worst happen.

“I hope these kinds of exercises also give the public confidence that they are safe when using the airport.

“I’d also like to thank Manchester Airport Group and all the staff at Stansted for their support and co-operation.”

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