Terrorist attack exercise takes place at St George’s Hospital site, Hornchurch
09:30 01 December 2016
Specialist counter terrorism officers came to Havering as part of a live-play exercise to test their response to a terrorist attack.
Residents were surprised to hear gunfire at the St George’s Hospital site and a smell of burning was reported on Tuesday.
This was part of a three-day exercise, which took place at a variety of sites across London and involved more than 500 police and military staff and officers between Monday and Wednesday.
On Tuesday, officers tested their ability to track down outstanding suspects and a covert exercise took place at the vacant hospital site, Suttons Lane, Hornchurch, between 11am and 10pm.
Residents took to social media to express their surprise.
Tina said on Streetlife: “It frightened the life out of me I thought it was a bomb going off.”
Karen Crockford tweeted: “It’s disgusting. We should have been warned. I’m near St. George’s and my house shook.”
The practice was part of a series of exercises held regularly across the country as part of the government’s national counter terrorism programme.
A met Police spokesman confirmed this was not in response to any specific threat or intelligence regarding the locations, where practices took place.
Commander Dean Haydon, of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “Exercises like this are a really important way to ensure that our multi-agency plans to respond to a terrorist attack are as good as they can be.
“During live play we test our tactical response to terrorists with firearms and how we work together in practice. The exercise was focused on the extreme end of scenarios, following attacks elsewhere in the world, but I’d like to stress it was not carried out in response to any specific intelligence.
“Every effort was made to minimise disruption and I thank the public for their patience.
“I am really happy with how the exercise went - I witnessed first-hand the professional response of our emergency services. Our next step is to carry out a debrief with our partners to ensure that we capture any learning from the exercise and incorporate this into our tactical plans.”