From the 18th to the 23rd of September 2022, 18 participants from 10 countries participated in the Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) in the Police Training Centre of Gotenica in the lush forests of southern Slovenia.

The activities were carried out by the Centre for European Perspective (CEP), with support from the Slovenian Police and the Slovenian Armed Forces. The training was organised under the auspices of the projects Peace Operations Training Centre (POTC) and the European Union Police and Civilian Services Training (EUPCST).

This year’s HEAT was an intensive 5-day course that aimed to train professionals on how to effectively deal with risks-associated and emergency/critical situations while deployed in hostile environments abroad.

The courses in Gotenica were a unique opportunity for participants to:

  • improve their knowledge about multiple threats present in hostile field environments and learn how to deal with them effectively;
  • rehearse and practice safety and security procedures accordingly with a specific threat;
  • strengthen individual skills in dealing with different stressful situations;
  • and strengthen group dynamics while dealing with multiple stressful situations.

The courses culminated in a complex multi-stage one-day simulation where the participants put their acquired knowledge and newfound skills to the test. The simulation even included some unforeseen events that surprised the participants and gave them an invaluable learning experience in a high-pressure environment.

This year’s HEAT included participants from diverse governmental institutions from 10 European countries: Cyprus, Estonia, France, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Activities, sharing of best practices, workshops and practical exercises facilitated by experts from the Slovenian Police, Slovenian Armed Forces, a psychologist and other experts contributed to a multidisciplinary approach to the challenges that individuals and institutions might face when deployed in a potentially hostile environment. The participants all successfully and enthusiastically finished the course, expressing their satisfaction over the new knowledge, techniques and experience that will, if needed, prove to be beneficial to their current or future work postings.