Meet the coppers with a head for heights

Policing at Heights officers in training

Policing at Heights officers in training

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Ever wondered what happens when police need to tackle dizzying heights to retrieve evidence or bring someone to safety?

Well, the answer is a team of specialist officers who have a head for heights and no qualms about dangling above roads and railways.

Policing at Heights officers in training

Policing at Heights officers in training

Meet the members of the North’s Policing at Heights team who work across the county dealing with such varied missions as protestor removal, rescuing vulnerable people in precarious positions, firearms searches, security checks and body recovery.

The 12-strong team are regularly put through their paces by British Transport Police trainers, who specialise in policing at heights, rope skills and advanced techniques.

And they were recently at the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service Training Centre, in Euxton, where two scenarios had been set to challenge the team to take on a series of special challenges.

The first was an incident of aggravated trespass where the team had to winch someone from a basement using a pulley system, using their enhanced rope skills.

After a short break for lunch the officers were back to it – this time working on a complex body recovery exercise using ropes and stretchers to lower the equipment and retrieve the dummies.

Trainer PC Elaine Silvestro, force rope instructor, said: “Live exercises like this are vital to test the skills of the team and their tackling of evolving situations. Once again we were extremely pleased to see the officers assess the different scenarios before working as a team to meet the demands of the task.”

Previously there was a single Policing at Heights team based in London, however a north-based team was set up after an environmental protest at Drax power station.