SENIOR police officials from Barbados have been on Teesside to pick up tips on how Cleveland officers handle major incidents.

The team of four were given an insight into the way the force tackles everything from firearms and chemical hazards to training for senior officers and the work of the murder investigation squad.

They visited the command room at force headquarters, which becomes the nerve centre for major operations, and the firearms facility at Urlay Nook.

Links between Cleveland and the Royal Barbados Police Force started when firearms experts went to the Caribbean to give training to their VIP protection officers.

Sergeant Jon Winn later returned to develop work for the island's special support unit dealing in house arrests, raids and sniper training.

Senior Superintendent Mark Thompson, of the Barbados force, said his team was looking at a number of areas of best practice and had already been to the US and Scotland.

They are due to visit the Metropolitan Police in London before heading off to Hong Kong for an Interpol conference.

He said: "Our systems are based on common law although there is a difference in some procedures and laws to reflect differences in the Caribbean."

He said the main problem on the island was burglary, some of which was linked with drugs.

Unlike Cleveland where heroin is a problem, their main drug problem is marijuana.