Soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s B Company were armed with shields and batons when they took part in public order training over the weekend.
The exercise, which included mock rioting, bolsters the RBR’s ability to provide support in the event of disorder or violent protest.
Major Duncan Simons, Officer Commanding B Company, explained: “One of B Company’s roles is to back up A Company in an internal security scenario, and one of the Regiment’s mandates is to provide public order capability for Bermuda – for the Government, for the police service.
“That means pulling out the kit a few times a year and getting some training done.
“For a lot of folks in B Company this is their first time doing this training and it’s good fun.”
Instruction covered protective clothing and basic shield drills earlier last week before soldiers learned on Saturday about formations as well as how to manoeuvre themselves on a road or other public space. The weekend’s training also included de-escalation drills and how to deal with rapid advances.
In recent years, members of the RBR have delivered public order training to overseas organisations including in Belize and Guyana, to show authorities how less-than-lethal force can be used to defuse situations.
Warrant Officer Class Two Runekco Edwards, Company Sergeant Major with B Company and a public order instructor, explained what was required of the troops. He said: “We are looking for discipline, professionalism, control – especially from the commanders; we’re looking for how the commanders control their sections.”
WO2 Edwards added: “In a public order situation it can be very violent so every soldier has to look out for each person.”
He said that included hardcore rioters and bystanders. Lance Corporal Ashley Grant, 31, noted how the training differed from B Company’s more typical parade drills and fieldcraft exercises.
The bartender, from St George’s, said: “It’s more with the weapons and the shields – usually with your weapon you’re able to have both hands, but with this you’re basically using one hand.”
Lance Corporal Diallo Donville, a pool maintenance worker at the Hamilton Princess Hotel and Beach Club, added: “I’ve seen first-hand what public order situations look like.
“I spent some time in England – there were football games or just a crazy time in the city centre.” He said that if ever there was public disorder on the island, he believes the Regiment, which is recruiting now ahead of an initial training block next month, could “stand strong” if needed.
The 26-year-old, from Warwick, added: “Especially if A Company is the strongest team and we can be that extra leg behind them, that’s good.” Private Maria Deleon Garcia, like LCpl Grant and LCpl Donville, took part in the training for the first time last week.
The 23-year-old, who works in housekeeping and is from Southampton, said: “I enjoyed it; we know how to protect ourselves.” Residents aged between 18 and 50 are invited to join the RBR’s ranks by January 26 to take part in initial recruit training, which will run from February 12 to 24.
* For more information or to sign up, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 238-1045.
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