Text and photos: Sylwia Guzowska; Translation: Marcin Fitas; Edition: Antonio Anaya, EUROGENDFOR PPIO
The Department of Special Operations of the Military Gendarmerie’s Specialized Unit (MG SU) in Warsaw organized and conducted a series of tactical workshops utilising the existing capital city’s public transport infrastructure. These unique workshops took place on 14-15 February this year on one of the underground line stations. The workshops were part of a scheduled periodic training in counterterrorist tactics and techniques, as well as a preparatory element of the exercise that is planned for the second quarter of this year.
The training consisted of two phases. The theoretical one took place inside the MG SU premises. Several hours of lectures describing in detail the basic planning procedures were delivered; the cooperation and the role of particular elements were discussed; and the principles of communication and the procedures were clarified.
The second -practical phase- took place in the Warsaw underground public transport infrastructure, as a sort of joint training. The Department of Special Operations from MG SU invited to participate other State Agencies that also deal on a daily basis with countering terrorism. In addition to the operators from the MG SU’s Special Branch, the participants included representatives of the State Police, the Internal Security Agency, the Central Anti-corruption Bureau, and the State Protection Service.
During the workshops, the operators practiced several elements of the Hostage Rescue Operations (HRO), the aim of which is to release hostages and neutralize the threat. Anti-terrorist units practiced a direct assault on an underground train approaching the station, and the release of hostages, triage, and evacuation of casualties, as well as the detention of terrorists.
The HRO operations are one of the most complex and difficult tasks that Police Forces may face, as they pose a high risk of failure. They require specialised, long-lasting training, the applying of special techniques and tactics, and well-planned procedures. “That’s why regular, routine training, and familiarity with the facility’s infrastructure and its critical points, are so important”, in the words of the Head of the Special Operations Department.
During the night training, apart from operators from the special sections, the Paramedic Units also had the opportunity to practice their field first-aid skills. They segregated casualties according to the severity of their injuries (triage method), and then provided them with first-aid assistance, including intravenous administration of fluids.