Protester removal display

What do you do if protesters turn up? It may fall to security staff to remove them, yet any removal has to be done safely. As featured in the January 2018 print issue of Professional Security, British Transport Police (BTP) at the UK Security Expo 2017 (now renamed the International Security Expo demonstrated how they go about removing protesters, who may have gone to some lengths to chain, lock or glue or otherwise attach themselves to objects that make it difficult for them to move – even if they agree to; with the aim of disrupting the site being protested at. If it’s trackside, or vehicles, health and safety becomes yet more important.

BTP are again showing their work, at the Rail Live exhibition in Warwickshire, on June 20 and 21.

The BTP’s policing at heights team formed almost 15 years ago, after protesters brought the Docklands Light Railway to a standstill in 2003. It’s routinely used to carry out searches at height, body recovery or interventions with suicidal people in precarious places. They were also deployed to major incidents such as the London 7-7 attack of 2005, Drax power station – where 26 protesters locked themselves onto a coal train – and, more recently, the Manchester terror attack of May 2017, where the team recovered items from the ceiling and infrastructure of the Manchester Arena.

Also on show will be the force’s firearms and dogs units; the Specialist Response Unit, that will assess unattended packages and bags to determine whether the item or its unusual smells, powders, liquids and chemicals – can be cleared as lost property or whether it requires more resources, such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal; and a crime scene tent, where the Scientific Support Unit will be showing forensics.

Picture by Mark Rowe from UK Security Expo 2017, when BTP provided ‘protesters’ (in blue overalls) bonded to a lorry and the officers to remove them, keeping the ‘protesters’ at all times informed.

For free attending of the show, at Quinton Rail Technology Centre, near Stratford upon Avon, visit

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