A joint initiative between the British Consulate-General and Madrid’s emergency services, Samur-Protección Civil, has provided British consular staff, the Foreign Office front-line, with training on key aspects of the job of a Consular officer.
SAMUR are professionals in dealing with crisis situations and regularly offer training to the Police and other organisations. This is the first time there has ever been such an initiative with foreign Embassies in the city.
The British Consulate has always worked closely with the Spanish authorities, but decided to take this one stage further by collaborating with Madrid City Council emergency service to further enhance the team’s professional skills and experience. The courses were held in the British Embassy building and included members of the embassies of Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland and the US and of the British Council who work closely with Embassy staff during crisis situations .
John Tomlinson, British Vice-consul for central and north-west Spain said:
“Every day hundreds of British citizens turn to the British consulates for assistance and advice and although our consular officers have all been trained by UK experts, spending time with the Spanish emergency services has helped us understand better their procedures and how they deal with difficult situations”
“No two days are the same in Consular work and no two cases are the same”, said Antonio Gavala, a Consular Officer in Madrid who worked on organising the training, “We never stop learning, the more training we get the better, the more we work with the professionals, the better”
Today, Sr Pedro Luis Calvo Poch, Security and Transport Councillor of Madrid and the Head of SAMUR, visited the Embassy to praise the joint initiative and hand out diplomas to all who completed the training.