A new facility the size of 70 football pitches has become operational this week adjacent to the Scottish Police College – providing a potential centre for large-scale police public order training ahead of the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
The College, part of the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA), has entered into a five-year agreement with ScottishPower that will see the College expand by over 55-hectares in the site of the former Kincardine Power Station for training exercises and much needed overflow car parking.
The importance of public order training for police officers across the UK has been thrown sharply into the spotlight again today with the publication of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) Denis O’Conner’s review of policing protests in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mr O’Connor has indicated that there must be change and improvement in the way British police risk handle large-scale protests or risk losing the support of the public if they confront demonstrators with tactics seen as aggressive and unfair.
The 55-hectare space is the site of the former Kincardine Power Station, which had been in operation since 1958 and stopped generating approximately 15 years ago.
Although the site currently contains an electricity sub station, a gas pipe facility and an air traffic control radar installation, the majority of the land mass is not being used – making it ideal for training exercises that involve large numbers of people.
Director of the Scottish Police College, Mr. John Geates, welcomed the partnership with ScottishPower and the potential it now provides to the Tulliallan facility:
“With two massive public events on the horizon in terms of the Olympic and Commonwealth games, the College has been considering how best to meet the increasing demands that are likely to come for public order training. As we develop our contribution to SPSA’s five year Strategic Plan, we have been exploring whether public order training is a service that we could and should be offering.
“Today’s report from her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary in England and Wales makes it clear that the policing of protest events must evolve after the experiences of G20 and other recent events – and training is certainly at the heart of that.
“The College isn’t currently able to offer this sort of training – partly due to the lack of a suitable space. That’s why we were delighted when ScottishPower approached us about entering into a partnership. The extra land will provide ample room public order training and other large scale exercises.
“We now have all the capacity we need to mount training exercises on a mass scale if necessary. Now that this land is at our disposal, we can enter into more detailed discussions with our customers on how we can best use it to support Scottish policing.
“The extra land also solves a major space issue related to parking at the College. We are still training very large numbers of new recruits to the Scottish police service, placing tough constraints on College parking. Recruits are now parking their vehicles at the power station site, allowing parking space at the College to be freed up for visitors and regular day-to-day business users.”
The agreement between Scottish Power and the College is an excellent example of the private and public sector working in partnership. Ewan McMillan, Station Manager Generation, ScottishPower said, “We are delighted to enter into this partnership. We pride ourselves on community relations and will help out wherever possible to make the site work for Scottish policing and other users.”
The College has already extended use of the land to other ‘blue light’ agencies such as the Scottish Ambulance Service, who have been using the site this week for a 30 person training exercise. This collaborative approach is contributing to the Scottish government’s call for closer collaboration and joint-working between public services.
Mr. Geates commented, “We are happy to share resources wherever possible, especially amongst other blue light agencies. This is a great opportunity to deliver better services by cutting across organizational boundaries and working together.”
SPSA is responsible for public, product and pollution liability insurance and will also pay a nominal monthly fee to the local council for use of the land.
NOTES TO NEWS EDITORS:
SPSA is responsible for public, product and pollution liability insurance for the site and will also pay a nominal monthly fee to the local council for use of the land.
The Scottish Police College provides a range of national training services to Scotland’s 8 police forces from its Tulliallan campus. The College is part of the Scottish Police Services Authority which also provides Forensic Services, ICT, and information systems to the Forces.
The College was recently awarded an ‘outstanding contribution’ award at the inaugural Scottish Policing Awards for its work in delivering a 240 per cent increase in the number of new police recruits being trained.
KINCARDINE POWER STATION FACTS:
Kincardine was built by the former British Electricity Authority on land reclaimed from the Forth during the previous century.
The station began generating in 1958 and was formally opened by the Queen on 12 October, 1960.
When the two 440-feet chimneys were demolished the seven million bricks were used to landscape the 55-hectare site.
It was fuelled by small coal, called "slack", supplied by the coalfields in Fife and Central Scotland and burned up to 2.5 million tonnes a year.
The radar was installed at Kincardine to eliminate any potential issues with the radar at Glasgow Airport from Europe’s largest onshore windfarm at Whitelee near Glasgow.