Counter-Terrorism Policing wants to see Christmas security all wrapped up

With the Christmas shopping rush about to start, Counter-Terrorism Policing is launching its biggest-ever winter advertising campaign aimed at the public as part of ACT: Action Counters Terrorism. This campaign aims to encourage the public to remain vigilant, look out for suspicious behaviour and inform people how to report their concerns, providing a ‘whole society’ approach wherein police, security staff, retail workers and the public come together to minimise the chance of attacks and mitigate the impact they can have.

That is what the ‘Step Change’ initiative – which aims to bring the public and private sectors together to collaborate on security matters – is all about, meaning that retailers and other businesses operating in crowded places are also being asked to play their part in countering the terrorist threat.

Businesses can do this in two ways, with the first being to sign up to ACT Awareness, the innovative online training scheme designed to help industry better understand and mitigate current terrorist methodology.

Developed in a ground-breaking partnership between Counter-Terrorism Policing and High Street 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. It takes just 45 minutes in total to complete. That’s 45 minutes that could well save lives.

Second, experts from Counter-Terrorism Policing will be asking businesses to think about their contingency plans this Christmas, asking them to draw up a ‘Sixty-Second Security’ plan which has the power to improve their reaction to emergency situations.

Designed to be a quick checklist which can improve staff reactions in the event of an emergency, it requires businesses to ensure that all of their staff members know the answers to simple questions such as:

*Who’s 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 an emergency?

*How do you lock down the premises quickly?

*Where can you hide?

*How do you communicate and how do you stay updated if you find yourself in a RHT scenario?

*Have you briefed your staff?

Launching the campaign, Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth (the national co-ordinator for Protect and Prepare), 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.”

Aldworth added: “Last year on Oxford Street, we saw a fight at a London Underground 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 learned lessons from that experience and I believe that our ‘Sixty-Second Security’ plan will better prepare us to deal with something similar in the future.”

Specialist advice for companies operating in crowded places – such as at major events, sports stadiums, visitor attractions, bars, theatres and Shopping Centres – is available on the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) website along with Counter-Terrorism Policing’s new ACT Awareness e-Learning tool.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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