Ambush Tests Redcaps’ Close Protection Skills

The RMP have tested their close protection skills during a realistic training exercise on the streets of Colchester. A simulated ambush was staged to test 156 Pro Coy RMP’s close protection team. A blast from a roadside bomb and heavy machine gun fire stopped a vehicle carrying an unsuspecting Brig Hill, previous Comd of 16 Air Assault Bde.

Under smoke grenades and rifle fire from his military police escort, the Brigadier – known as the principal in close protection terminology – was quickly taken out of the vehicle and into cover. The team then moved across fields to link up with a vehicle that had been following behind in case of incidents, which picked up the principal to take him to safety.

Sgt Rob Cotterill, who has done four close protection tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the team’s second-in-command. He said: “The primary aim of close protection is to facilitate the safety of the principal, whether that person is an ambassador or a senior military officer. In situations similar to this training we have to think and act together quickly to do what is needed – return fire, get the principal out of the vehicle and move him off to safety.

I enjoy the role and it’s rewarding to know that we are able to ensure that the person we’re protecting is able to do their job in safety.”

The training was intended to test the Colchester-based unit in their role providing policing support to 16 Air Assault Brigade. Alongside crime scene investigators from the RMP’s Special Investigations Branch and custodial specialists from the Military Provost Service, 156 Pro Coy RMP would provide a close protection team for the Bde Comd.

Maj Dougie Hutchinson, OC 156 Pro Coy RMP, said: “It’s important that training is as realistic as possible for soldiers to gain the most benefit. This exercise was about both demonstrating our close protection capability to the Bde Comd and keeping the skills of our soldiers sharp.”

Close protection is a specialist RMP skill taught over a seven-week long training course which focuses on fitness and weapons-handling. The RMP protect senior personnel from the military and other Government departments worldwide, with threats most likely to happen when the principal is moving around in vehicles or entering and exiting buildings.

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