More than 1,500 companies across the UK have signed up to an innovative training scheme that could help in the prevention of terrorism attacks. In just six months since the product was first made available, representatives from organisations as varied as John Lewis & Partners, the English National Opera and Manchester Cathedral have enrolled their staff.
Called ACT Awareness e-Learning, the training was developed in a groundbreaking partnership between Counter-Terrorism Policing and retail giant 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 business needs and takes just 45 minutes in total to complete: 45 minutes that could save lives.
John Frost, head of business continuity at Marks & Spencer who helped lead the project, stated: “The feedback from the staff at Marks & Spencer and the other organisations taking part has been very positive. Colleagues found the content informative and engaging. A second version of the product is now being planned to keep the training up-to-date with any emerging threats.”
The digital format is proving popular with shopping, entertainment and sports venues with more companies applying to take part every day.
Metropolitan Police Service Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, the national police lead for protective security, commented: “All staff working in crowded places, and not just those who have a security role, can follow the course and be in a stronger position to help protect themselves, colleagues and the public. We are grateful to Marks & Spencer who entered into this collaboration with us. This is the type of joint working we want to see more of in the future across all sectors.”
D’Orsi added: “Our officers will still be available to deal with companies on a one-to-one level, but the course will lead to many more ‘eyes and ears’ being available to help us that could potentially save lives.”
*Organisations wanting more information, or to apply for registration, should visit the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office website’s ACT Awarenss page