Andhra Pradesh

British diplomat furious after mock drill at hotel goes awry

‘The drill began ahead of schedule; staff did not follow SOP’

British Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Fleming got the scare of his life at a reputed star hotel in the city when an anti-terror drill began at the hotel ahead of schedule, here on Thursday.

Dr. Fleming told The Hindu that he had received a written communication from the hotel management about the drill, but it began 30 minutes ahead of the schedule, taking him by surprise.

“I was checking out at the reception when I heard a blast and saw armed security men storming into the hotel. I am trained for such eventualities as I had worked earlier in Afghanistan and Iraq. As per Standard Operating Procedure, I ducked behind the counter and sprawled on the ground. But to my surprise, I found the hotel staff laughing at me,” said Dr. Fleming.

‘Communication lapse’

He said the hotel staff should have properly communicated to the guests that there would be a mock drill. “The hotel staff should also follow the SOP prescribed for the anti-terror drill and support the guests, instead of laughing at them. The hotel management should train its staff to communicate such important matters to the guests in a more effective way. Not only me, there were many who suffered due to this ill-timed operation. It would have been a disaster for a person with a fainter heart,” he said.

The British Deputy High Commissioner took to Twitter to express his displeasure.

“Not only did the said activity happen at 09:26; the note gave no mention of explosions, men with guns and all else I witnessed. Very poor,” he posted on the microblogging platform.

Dr. Fleming further said mock drills are conducted in embassies every week. “People should be informed specifically that it is a mock drill and explosives and guns will be used. The hotel staff was clueless about the drill. I have lodged a complaint with the management,” he said.

The anti-terror drill was organised by the Navy personnel, Coastal Security Police and Octopus, the anti-terror outfit of Andhra Pradesh, ahead of the international naval meet Milan-2020.

Police Commissioner R.K. Meena met Dr. Fleming after the incident. “The hotel should have communicated to the guests in detail about the mock drill,” Mr. Meena said.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 10:49:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/british-diplomat-furious-after-mock-drill-at-hotel-goes-awry/article30755846.ece

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