Police facility hosts future Army instructors

Soldiers on the new Close Quarter Battle Instructor (CQBI) course honed their skills in a state-of-the-art Northumbria Police training building late last year.

Normally reserved for armed police officers, the Newcastle facility was used by the Wales-based Infantry Battle School (IBS) to take prospective instructors through room clearance techniques in the urban environment.

Captain Johl, one of the IBS Directing Staff (DS) on the November course, said: “If you go into a building, you know that you are going to have to conduct engagements under 25 metres and do them well.

“It’s a high-pressure scenario. It’s about being able to control that. It’s as realistic a training environment as possible, so they’re firing paint rounds from their primary and secondary weapons, the SA80 rifle and the Glock pistol.”

Troops also used an array of pyrotechnics, such as distraction grenades (‘flashbangs’), to get the job done in the confined space.

This is about learning through mistakes. What we require is an element of humility. Captain Johl

Captain Johl said: “Today, the students have been going through tactical evaluations, being tested on their ability to conduct the drills. If they’re successful, they will go back to battalions fully qualified as a CQBI and will be able to deliver full training packages in varying terrains.”

Students were drawn from across the Army, with some set to become part of the newly-formed Ranger Regiment, which was established in 2021 under the Future Soldier programme.

Participants will all have a good understanding of infantry tactics but the scenarios on the course test them to the limits of their capability.

Captain Johl said: “This is about learning through mistakes. What we require is an element of humility. While the students have lots of experience, they need to come here from day one being able to look at themselves in the mirror and know they’re not perfect.

“If we deem them competent, and in a position to understand where their weaknesses have been, then we’re happy.”