Three out of the four police forces in Wales have teamed up to launch a firearms training unit.
Gwent, South Wales and Dyfed Powys Police have set up a base at Waterton in Bridgend, in a move to cut costs and standardise training across the forces.
The Unit will be made up of twenty four officers and members of staff. They will deliver firearms training to command, specialist and Armed Response Vehicle officers from the three forces.
The forces hope the collaboration project will provide 'resilience' and increased access to resources and expertise, while creating potential savings and shared equipment costs.
Gwent Police Deputy Chief Constable, Jeff Farrar said:
– Gwent Police DCC, Jeff Farrar
The Joint Firearms Training Unit is a fine example of neighbouring Forces combining resources and expertise to ensure that our local communities continue to receive a first class service which can be efficient, effective and resilient in years to come.
This collaboration project will deliver a number of benefits. All three Forces will have access to a larger and more resilient pool of firearms experts, a single centre of excellence, and the best training facilities available."
– Mark Milton, Joint Director of Human Resources for Gwent and South Wales Police
The joint training team and advanced facility is part of a learning environment dedicated to the professionalism of Officers and Staff. Working jointly is not only efficient but will enable us to make use of the best skills and knowledge from three forces".
The facilities at the Waterton Site include;
- A 50 metre and 180 degree live firing range with a laser video system, utilised for tactical, judgemental and re-qualification shoots
- An outside tactical area including a skills house and method of entry rig where tactics, including abseil, can be refined and practiced
- Classrooms for lectures and office space for the daily running of the Unit
Initial Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO) training is made up of an 8-10 week course. Once qualified, AFOs are required to attend refresher training three to four times a year. These officers then have the opportunity to specialise in further roles, such as rifle, protection and hostage release which can be delivered locally at the Joint Firearms Training Unit.
This move follows the establishment of a number of other collaborative ventures including Legal Services (South Wales Police and Gwent Police) and the Joint Scientific Investigations Unit (South Wales Police and Gwent Police).