Paratroopers Train for Public Disorder Around the World
Paras swapped rifles for batons and shields as they trained to deal with public disorder that they may face as the global rapid reaction force. Troops from 2 PARA have been bombarded with abuse, petrol bombs and missiles during public order training in a mock village on Stanford Training Area.
Ex Eagles Banner saw troops learn how to work together to both defend each other and drive back hostile crowds. The week-long training package culminated in a large disturbance with fellow soldiers taking the role of rioters. The training was about adding to the soldiers’ skills as 2 PARA prepared to be the lead unit in the Airborne Task Force (ABTF) from May. The battalion will be ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to conduct operations ranging from non-combatant evacuation operations to warfighting.
Maj Markis Duggan, OC B Coy 2 PARA, said: “Training in public order is an essential part of our preparations for contingency operations. Public disorder has been an enduring theme of military operations in recent years, with the British Army facing unruly crowds in Sierra Leone, Kosovo and Iraq, and we need to develop the appropriate skills. The lessons that have been learnt from experience and by our soldiers this week are that it’s important to respond proportionately to public disorder, maintain discipline under pressure and take control before a situation gets out of hand. Negotiation skills are important for commanders but, when necessary, you have to be able to escalate to using controlled non-lethal force with batons and shields.”
Sgt Nick Pugh, said: “The key to dealing with public order situations is situational awareness, controlled aggression and good communication skills. It’s the first time doing this for many of our soldiers and it’s been a steep learning curve that they’ve coped with brilliantly.”
Among the soldiers having their first experience of public order training was Pte Michael Glynn, who has been in the Army for just over a year. He said: “It’s been enjoyable to learn a new skill for a very different situation to what we’re used to as infantry. Public disturbances are hectic, with a lot of noise, people milling around and missiles getting thrown. In that situation you’re under a lot of pressure and being able to keep your head and work as a team is very important.”