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Regiment troops train for America’s Cup

A group of 16 Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers have completed a tough four-day course in security and search techniques in the run-up to the America's Cup.

Now the squad will use skills learnt from airport and ports security expert John Pears to train other soldiers to keep the Cup a safe and enjoyable experience.

The Miami-based specialist said soldiers trained in search and security would provide a valuable back-up to civilian staff at the airport if a natural disaster meant that airport employees could not get to work.

Sergeant Curtis Grant, a full-time soldier based at RBR headquarters, said: “We've touched on dangerous goods, pat downs and a whole lot of stuff.

“There is a lot to consider for the America's Cup — it will be good to get out in the public eye and show them how professional we are, apart from the hurricane clear-ups people are used to.”

Mr Pears, who has worked as a security consultant in Bermuda and other Overseas Territories for more than a decade, said the training was vital to a successful security operation for the summer sailing competition.

He added: “They have done very well — they are all trainers anyway. Usually with this type of programme, it's getting the confidence to get up and teach.

“These guys already have that, so it's more about the techniques.”

Mr Pears added: “If people don't understand the arena they are stepping into and what people are trying to achieve, they will be at loggerheads with everyone else.

“It's important to understand the limitations and what they can and can't do.

“They have to comply with all the rules and regulations — there are no short cuts.”

Mr Pears, an ex-Royal Navy regular and former police officer, said: “If for any reason after that there is an issue with a natural disaster or a hurricane and staff can't get to the airport, we can bring in qualified personnel, which we couldn't do before.”

Sergeant Patricia Alexander, 29, an analyst at the Bermuda Monetary Authority in civilian life, said: “The course has been very informative.

“We've learnt a lot about search techniques and why certain things are done. What's been an eye-opener for me is the way people can get things into an event they could use as weapons.

“You have really got to keep your eyes open and know what you are looking for. If not, the simplest thing could pass you by and that might be what does it.”

Practice makes perfect: from left, security expert John Pears watches as RBR Corporal Chris Burchall and Colour Sergeant Shaun Williams practise search techniques in preparation for the force's major role at the America's Cup

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Published February 23, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 24, 2017 at 7:09 am)

Regiment troops train for America’s Cup

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