HONG KONG police will be sent as observers to the Conservative Party Conference in Bournemouth this year to receive security training in an environment 'where there is a perceived threat', it has emerged. Seven officers will travel to Britain in September to attend a three-week course to prepare for mid-1997, when Hong Kong hosts the International Monetary Fund (IMF) summit at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. The training, which specialises in bomb search techniques, supplements programmes available to police in the territory, considered a 'low risk' location. Courses will take place at the Police Search Branch at the National Search Training Centre, a joint police-military facility in Kent where the Army prepares for its operations in Northern Ireland and police undergo 'defensive search training'. Hong Kong police Key Points and Search Superintendent Colin Thornborrow said: 'They can experience first hand the planning and searching. 'We can teach them, but until you've actually been there and seen the problems on the ground, the amount of people, the amount of equipment . . . They will be there for all of that.' The $485 million IMF conference, scheduled after the change of sovereignty, is expected to draw 10,000 participants, some of whom may require VIP protection. It is understood police will soon form a team to discuss the wider security aspects of the event. The force has 20 search teams, comprising 140 junior officers and 26 inspectors. The programme at Chattendean in Kent and subsequent conference exposure will allow officers to be trained 'in an environment where there is a perceived security threat', Mr Thornborrow said.