Home Training and Careers ACT Strategic initiative introduced by National Counter-Terrorism Security Office

ACT Strategic initiative introduced by National Counter-Terrorism Security Office

by Brian Sims

ACT Strategic is a new initiative brought forward by the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) which is designed to assist businesses in exploring ways of preventing, managing and recovering from a terrorist attack.

ACT Strategic is aimed at those responsible for writing policies and procedures or strongly influencing them. Events are aimed at 20-30 delegates from a range of organisations and business sectors. Delegates are asked to have completed the ACT e-Learning package and have knowledge of their organisation’s emergency response plans (incident management plan, recovery and business continuity plan) and the authority to affect changes or reviews of those plans (ie heads of department, security managers or emergency planners).

An ACT Strategic event will feature a discussion-based exercise where delegates will be faced with a series of questions and dilemmas to resolve, both individually and collectively. Through participation in discussions and using knowledge and skills, delegates will be able to share Best Practice and identify areas for improvement.

The events, which are free of charge, are facilitated by highly-qualified counter-terrorism specialists and last for approximately three-to-four hours. They’re interactive and require audience participation.

Attending a session will help delegates gain a better understanding of the threat from terrorism and the security measures that can be put in place to protect a business or organisation.

If you’re interested in participating in an ACT Strategic event contact your local Counter-Terrorism Security Advisor to book a place.

Call to complete training

Terror survivors have called for businesses and religious organisations to complete counter-terrorism training in order to help protect the UK from future attacks.

Natalie Tait and Joanette Fourie, both of London, have shared their own accounts of being caught up in the London Bridge and Parsons Green attacks in the hope that they can encourage more people to sign up to Counter-Terrorism Policing’s online training package.

The groundbreaking training has been adopted by more than 3,400 businesses nationwide, delivering potentially life-saving information to nearly a quarter of a million people.

The training is free of charge to all qualifying organisations and consists of six primary modules designed to teach staff about the threat to the public from terrorism and how to mitigate it, such as spotting the signs of suspicious behaviour or how to react during a firearms or weapons attack.

As Fourie personally experienced, the training can change the way you react in an emergency situation for the better. She had undergone Project Argus training just two days before boarding the carriage that would carry her and an IED to Parsons Green.

Fourie recalled: “I boarded the train at Wimbledon and I remember being happy to have a seat. The train was full, and I was looking at a little girl with her mum going through some spelling words for a test. We were sitting just along the carriage from the IED. It detonated as we arrived at Parsons Green. The explosion lasted just milliseconds, but felt like much longer. Thanks to the training I had just done, I knew instinctively what had happened and what I needed to do.”

Unfortunately for Tait, when the worst happened she wasn’t so well prepared and believes that she suffered more trauma during and after her experience as a result. “What affected me most, both during the incident and in the weeks afterwards, was the uncertainty and the panic. Experiencing the training before this happened would certainly have helped me. When the fire alarm goes off at work, nobody panics. That’s because that training is drilled in from an early age. If this training allows people to react more calmly in anawful situation then the resulting mental trauma can be reduced and that means we’re not letting the terrorists win because they want to spread fear.”

Fourie added: “This training is there to help. It’s free, easy to access and complete and it’s really informative. You watch it and you store the detail somewhere in the back of your brain and hope to never use it. Should you have to, your instinct will kick in and you will know how to react and what to expect.”

Interactive and tailored

The online course is interactive and can be tailored to suit business’ needs, offering those who complete it a nationally accredited commendation.

Counter-Terrorism Policing’s national co-ordinator for Protect and Prepare, Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth, also believes faith centres and religious establishments should consider delivering the training to their staff, volunteers and parishioners.

“The horrific attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka demonstrate that places of worship are still viable targets for extremists. While still rare, attacks can occur at any time or place without warning. ACT Awareness is available for faith centres to use and I would urge religious leaders to consider this training for their churches, mosques and synagogues. Natalie and Joanette have bravely come forward to share their experiences with us so that we can better understand why it’s so important that as many people as possible arm themselves with this crucial advice.”

*For more information about the ACT Awareness e-Learning package, and to find out whether your business qualifies for access to this free resource, visit www.gov.uk/government/news/act-awareness-elearning

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