Counter terrorism police have launched their biggest-ever winter advertising campaign to the public, as part of ACT: Action Counters Terrorism.
The aim; to encourage the public to remain vigilant, look out for suspicious behaviour and report concerns. Police speak of a ‘whole society’ approach where police, security staff, retail workers and the public come together to minimise the chance of attacks and mitigate the impact.
The authorities have termed this the ‘Step Change’ approach – which aims to bring the public and private sectors together on security matters. Ahead of the Christmas shopping rush, retailers and other businesses operating in crowded places are being asked to play their part. Police ask businesses to sign up to ACT Awareness, the online training scheme designed to help industry better understand, and mitigate against, current terrorist methods. Developed between police and high street retailer Marks & Spencer, it covers how to spot the signs of suspicious behaviour and what to do if an attack should take place.
Free to use, the course can be divided into short sections to suit. The whole takes 45 minutes to complete.
Second, police ask businesses to think about their contingency plans this Christmas, asking them to draw up a ‘Sixty Second Security’ plan for reaction to emergency situations. As a checklist to aid staff reactions in the event of an emergency, it requires businesses to ensure all their staff know the answers to questions such as:
Who is appointed to make decisions on the shop floor, and do they know what they’re doing?
How do you enter and exit the building in emergency?
How do you lock down quickly?
Where can you hide?
How do you communicate and how do you stay updated?
Have you briefed your staff?
The national Coordinator for Protect and Prepare, Chief Supt Nick Aldworth, said: “All staff working in crowded places – not just those who have a security role – can follow the ACT Awareness e-Learning course and be in a stronger position to help protect themselves, colleagues and the public. I would also like to ask retailers and other businesses to consider my ‘Sixty Second Security’ plan, which is a quick checklist of questions every member of staff should be able to answer in order to drastically improve reaction times in the event of an emergency.
“Last year on Oxford Street we saw a fight at a Tube station cause panic when people believed that a terrorist attack had occurred. In the rush to keep themselves safe, some people suffered serious injuries and businesses were severely disrupted. By working alongside those businesses, we have learnt from that experience and I believe that our ‘Sixty Second Security’ plan will better prepare us to deal with something similar.”
Chief Supt Nick Aldworth is pictured right from the May 2018 print issue of Professional Security magazine, at the Parliament Square launch of London-wide Project Servator patrolling.
Advice for companies in crowded places, such as events, sport stadia, visitor attractions, bars, theatres and shopping centres, is available on the National Counter Terrorism Security Office ( NaCTSO) website.