Police Support Unit

A Police Support Unit or PSU is a unit of police officers who have undergone specialist training in public order policing. All PSU police officers must be trained in how to deal with serious public disorder and protests. These protests can be peaceful or result in violence and it is important that our officers are trained on how to react in both situations.

Cambridgeshire was recently host to police forces from across the country to practice handling both peaceful protests and high level public disorders. Our protestors are played by students from local colleges who are currently studying for a public services qualification but the police officers you see are real. Essex police even brought down their mounted unit to join in the fun! Check out our photo story below to see what the training involved.

The protestors prepare for action
The police arrive and the negotiations begin...
The police move in...
Protestors are cut free and the woods are cleared...
The protestors build a barricade...
The police prepare to take action...
The police take up position and the barricade is broken...
The mounted police move in...
Some protestors fight back and most run away
While the protestors end their day with a bbq the police have a debrief

What training do PSU officers have to do?

Cambridgeshire police officers are graded according to national common minimal standards. They are given one of two levels:

Level 1: - These officers receive regular Common Minimum Standards training and complete an additional four days a year specialist training in diverse protest removal, stadium crowd entry tactics, anti-terrorist training and advanced method of entry training.

Level 2: - These officers receive the same common minimum standards training as Level 1 officers and complete a four day course once a year which includes a competency based live time exercise.

What equipment do they use?

Standard kit for Cambridgeshire PSU officers consists of a 4ft plexi-glass intermediate armadillo shield, a 26 inch Arnold baton, a visored 'NATO' helmet, shin and elbow guards, along with fireproof coveralls when required. The shields are called armadillo shields because they can all hook together to create a solid barrier if needed. The plexi-glass material is a shatterproof material that allows the shields to bend without breaking.

PSU Film

Check out our film on the training

Please note that no students were harmed in the making of this gallery!

Photos courtesy of PCSO Sandra Warren and Lauren Gilman

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