Resident anger at Exmouth site used for police riot training

A DISGRUNTLED Exmouth homeowner has criticised police for using the unoccupied Rolle College as a base for riot training exercises and not notifying residents. The complainant was shocked to discover police with riot kit and shields entering a redundant b

A DISGRUNTLED Exmouth homeowner has criticised police for using the unoccupied Rolle College as a base for riot training exercises and not notifying residents.

The complainant was shocked to discover police with riot kit and shields entering a redundant building when she was out walking with her grandaughter on Fairfield Close last month.

The resident, who refused to be named, said: "My granddaughter looked worried. The shouts were very loud and aggressive-sounding.

"I thought something serious must be happening and, as the buildings are not in use at present, I thought I would telephone police when I got home.

"However, by crossing the road and looking where the noise was coming from, I could see police with riot kit and shields shouting, entering a redundant building. I could see it looked like training so I felt at ease."

But, the resident added: "There were no warning signs of police exercises displayed in the area.

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"I have serious concerns about the use of Rolle College in its new role for the following reasons:

"I can see no variation in planning permission for the change of use to police riot training,

"Also, the avenues are a sought-after residential area of Exmouth and the residents are not welcome of this type of aggressive training.

"Police Middlemoor HQ is 20 minutes away and so, what is the need to carry out training in such an area?"

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall police confirmed that the force used the site from time to time for public order and firearms training.

"It's also used by dog handlers and officers carrying out Tazer training," she said.

"It offers a unique environment, on private land, for police officers to train inside buildings for situations that they will face operationally.

"The only time officers go outside during the exercise is when they go from one building to the other and this takes around five to 10 minutes to do.

"A letter drop is carried out in the neighbourhood prior to the training taking place, to let residents know what's going on.

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