60 second security plan in Christmas counter terrorism drive launched
Counter-terror (CT) officers are asking shops and businesses to draw up contingency plans to “drastically improve reaction times in the event of an emergency” and prevent widespread panic.
In the run-up to Christmas, staff will be issued with a ‘60 second’ checklist to better prepare for emergency situations such as a terrorist threat and potentially save lives.
This includes ensuring staff working in crowded places know who is appointed to make decisions on the shop floor, how to enter and exit a building in an emergency, how to lock down or where to hide in the event of an attack.
Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth, national Coordinator for the Protect and Prepare campaign, which was launched today (November 19), said: “Last year on [London’s] 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 in the future.”
It is part of the CT policing’s biggest-ever winter advertising campaign under the ACT: Action Counters Terrorism initiative.
While there is no known increased threat to busy town and city centres, Chief Supt Aldworth said people will see police working alongside security personnel to encourage everyone to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious.
CT officers have also collaborated with advertising company Kong Media to reach thousands of UK shoppers with vitally important safety information.
Security messaging will appear on advertising boards and digital screens around crowded Christmas events and key shopping locations across the country, reminding the public about the crucial role they play in helping to tackle the terrorist threat.
“As people are enjoying the festive season they will see a visible security presence with police patrols and additional security in crowded places,” said Chief Supt Aldworth.
“Unpredictable deployments across the UK will also provide an additional layer of protection, with specially-trained uniformed and plain-clothes officers working to deter, detect and disrupt hostile reconnaissance and encourage the public and businesses to be their extra eyes and ears and report anything that doesn’t feel right.
“This includes asking 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.”
There is also an online course for businesses, ACT Awareness e-learning, which has been developed in collaboration with Marks and Spencer.
Chief Supt 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.”
The e-learning course offers nationally accredited counter-terrorism guidance, which can be delivered by URL link using a PIN code, or through a company’s own learning management system with a SCORM 1.2 compliant file supplied. It takes just 45 minutes to complete.
Ross Barrett, chief executive officer of Kong Media said: “Kong Media is proud to support CT Policing as they launch this year’s winter campaign. We first offered to help CT Policing after the terrible and tragic events of 2017 and we’re only too happy to help again.
“These are important messages for the public to know, so if we can help police reach thousands more shoppers thanks to our well-placed advertising boards and digital screens, then we’re delighted to do so.”