London

Met Police use Cold War bunker for hostage training

Metropolitan Police officers are using a disused Cold War nuclear bunker for hostage training.

Teams of marksmen from the CO19 branch have begun staging a series of mock operations at the former radar station near Sandwich, Kent.

The site is 50 miles from the Metropolitan Police's specialist training centre, complete with streets and vehicles.

The building contains a labyrinth of rooms constructed after World War II.

"Firearms training involves tactical exercises to test and develop the skills of our officers," a Met Police spokesman said.

Posing as hostages

"Although we have our own specialist training centre at Gravesend where our officers practice these skills, from time to time we require different locations to create new and challenging environments."

The underground complex also hosts a company offering secure data storage for banks and technology companies.

Staff at the base have been posing as hostages in scenarios which focus on rescuing people without injury or damaging sensitive computer equipment.

Ray Welsh, of The Bunker, which owns the site, said the training had been taking place in unoccupied parts of the building.

He said: "It certainly livens up the day a bit but they have not caused us a large amount of disruption.

"We are running a business and keeping them away from the live equipment."

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