Police, Air Force and Heathrow simulate aircraft hostage scenario

The Met Police, Royal Air Force and Heathrow Airport have taken part in a planned resilience training exercise, which tested a multi-agency response to an aircraft hijack scenario.

Exercise Night Star saw RAF Typhoon jets scrambled from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire to escort a passenger aircraft to Heathrow. Once the plane had landed, Specialist Units from the Met Police met the aircraft and responded to the simulation.

The exercise was designed to test the skills of police officers and staff from different units, including hostage negotiators, investigators, and firearms officers.

Chief Superintendent Ian Howells, who leads the Met's Aviation Policing Command, said: "All year round, the Met arranges and takes part in exercises to put the specialist training of officers to the test, in a range of different scenarios.

"Exercises such as this allow us to ensure that, with our partners, we are well-prepared to respond to all types of emergencies - at our airports, or elsewhere in the Capital. This gives our officers and staff vital experience, and also means that we can continually refine and improve upon our plans which help to keep the public safe."

Heathrow’s director of operations, Dale Reeson said: “Simulating lifelike scenarios at the airport and running regular resilience training is an essential part of our preparedness planning. We worked in close collaboration with the Met Police and RAF as part of last night’s scenario, and the learnings we’ll take from the joint exercise will only help to further strengthen our crisis response capabilities.”


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