These shocking photos capture the moment British Police stormed a shopping centre as part of a terror attack drill.
The officers, from West Midlands Police, carried assault rifles and riot shields as they raided the Merry Hill mall in Brierley Hill.
Victims played by actors laid out across the tiles of the mall while others panicked and rushed for safety – as if the attack was entirely real.
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said:
Routine exercises like this are important as they enable us to test our ability to deal with large scale incidents.
I would like to thank Merry Hill and the local community for their support.
The exercise was not based on any threat or intelligence and although it is unlikely that an incident like this would occur, recent national and international events have once again highlighted the importance of public organisations testing their emergency response procedures to assure the safety of the communities we serve.
The exercise took place after the shopping centre and nearby restaurants had closed.
A police spokesman said:
The area was tightly controlled and there was no impact on the public.
Officers and security staff were on patrol during the night to reassure any local residents who may have been affected by increased activity, noise and presence of the emergency services.
However, it was business as usual for the force and officers.
The entire operation was kept secret in order to allow things to pan out just as they would if it was a legitimate attack.
This routine was one of a number of drills which have taken place across the country in recent weeks to prepare police for a potential terror situation.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.