UK retailers have begun implementing “60-second security plans” following the launch of Counter Terror Policing’s biggest ever winter campaign on 19 November.
PoliceProfessional.com reports that 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.”
The plans include a 60-second checklist which should be given to all staff to help them be prepared for an emergency, “And potentially save lives.” The campaign is part of ACT: Action Counters Terrorism initiative, which includes the extremely important Run, Hide, Tell emergency response advice, which we’ve referred to in our Christmas Market Safety tips and other blog posts. You can read more about ACT on www.gov.uk/ACT
Although there have not been any specific threats about UK attacks over the Christmas and New Year period, our threat level is still listed as ‘Severe’ by MI5, and extra measures are being deployed – especially in busy town and city centres.
Over the past year there have been five attacks in the UK, with at least 17 planned attacks foiled since March 2017. Police and MI5 are currently running, “A record 700-plus live terrorism investigations,” says ChrinicleLive, who also quoted Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth, national co-ordinator for the police protect and prepare strategy, on counter-terrorism plans:
“As people are enjoying the festive season, they will see a visible security presence with police patrols and additional security in crowded places. 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.”
Oxford Street Incident
Last year there was chaos on Oxford Street just before Christmas when a fight caused people to think that there was a terrorist threat. Although a thorough investigation didn’t find any evidence of shots actually being fired, there was a lot of panic and people were seriously injured in the rush to get away.
The 60-second campaign aims to not only prevent potential attacks, but to help businesses, stores and busy attractions be better prepared to handle emergencies and avoid panic.
We Can All Help
As always, every single one of us has an important role to play in safety at home and abroad. ACT campaign messaging in busy public areas will encourage the public to be extra vigilant and report anything suspicious.
In addition to suspicious items and activity that we know we need to report, ACT now also lists online dangers that we should not keep quiet about:
- Speeches or essays calling for racial or religious violence
- Videos of violence with messages in praise of terrorists
- Postings inciting people to commit acts of terrorism or violent extremism
- Messages intended to stir up hatred against any religious or ethnic group
- Bomb-making instructions
- Advice on how to obtain or make weapons
If you see anything suspicious, call 0800 789 321 or visit www.gov.uk/ACT to access their anonymous online reporting form. If there’s an emergency or immediate danger, always call 999.
We hope you have a wonderful time and don’t have to report anything at all, but rather be prepared – not scared – and remain vigilant while you’re enjoying all the Christmas cheer.
Remember that if you’re travelling within the UK over the holidays, getting away for a weekend or visiting friends and relatives, travel insurance is still a must – especially at this time of year when delays and cancellations are more of a risk. You can also get comprehensive cover for acts of terrorism when you travel locally, from as little as £5.17 per person for a single trip of up to 8 days. Just like our international policy, that includes cancellation and curtailment*, loss of personal possessions, delays, and even withdrawal of services.
*Cancellation cover applies if there’s an act of terrorism within a 40-mile radius of your destination, up to 6 weeks before your departure. Curtailment applies if you’re already travelling and there’s an act of terrorism within 40 miles of your accommodation. For full details of cover, terms, conditions and exclusions please read our Policy Wording.