Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

Plans for police firearms training centre in Portishead

An armed officer
Plans for the training centre are still in the early stages

Plans for a police firearms training centre to be built at a disused quarry in Portishead, near Bristol, are being outlined to residents.

The centre, planned for Black Rock Quarry, would be shared by Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Gloucestershire Constabulary and Wiltshire Police.

The plans need approval from the Home Office before they can go ahead and funding has not yet been confirmed.

If government funding is approved, the centre is expected to open in 2014.

Any notion of officers running around the quarry with guns, I can dispell
Supt Adrian Coombes

Supt Adrian Coombes, of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, said more than 300 firearms officers from across the three forces would use the centre.

He said a shared facility would be more cost-effective.

The indoor centre would allow officers to gain and maintain the necessary level of skills in a safe, secure and enclosed environment.

"Any notion of officers running around the quarry with guns, I can dispell," Supt Coombes said. "There will be no danger to the public."

The force's Assistant Chief Constable, Rod Hansen, said: "We want local communities to feel safe and be safe.

"Training our officers so they have the right skills and expertise will help us to achieve this goal.

"The new firearms centre will provide us with a state of the art facility that meets our needs now and in the future.

"This is the first stage of the process and we will consult regularly with local communities and interest groups throughout the process."

A public drop-in session will be held at The Methodist Church Hall, High Street, Portishead, between 1430 and 1900 GMT on Monday.



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