The following bulletin has been issued by the National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters (NCTPHQ).
(Full bulletin can be found here: UK Protect CT Bulletin – Malicious Hoax Communications)
Following a series of malicious hoax communications to hotels across the UK it is important that you are alert, but not alarmed. This is an opportunity for you to review your security plans to confirm that the arrangements you should already have in place are still current and have been tested to ensure that all staff are prepared and confident.
There is no change to the UK terrorist threat level, which remains at SEVERE; meaning an attack is highly likely.
All businesses should consider this advice in the event that these communications are sent to other types of location.
Consider what steps you could take to:-
- reassure your customers and staff
- review and implement proportionate protect and prepare security planning.
1. Bomb threats: Procedures for handling bomb threats.
Most bomb threats are made over the phone and the overwhelming majority are hoaxes, made with the intent of causing alarm and disruption. Any hoax is a crime and, no matter how ridiculous or unconvincing, must be reported to the police.
Dial 999 and police will respond. You should always consider their advice before a decision is taken to close or evacuate.
2. If this prompts you to review your emergency planning, consider the following:
Do you have plans to search your site to deal effectively with either bomb threats or for hidden threat items; are all your staff familiar with those plans and what to do if they find a suspicious item?
Good housekeeping reduces the opportunity for suspicious items to be placed and assists effective search.
3. Evacuation/Invacuation planning
It is vital that you are able to move your customers and staff away from danger in a controlled way. Ensure you have a number of options available, well sign- posted and notified to people on your site. Keep routes clear.
Sometimes it may be safer to remain inside a building; identify the most suitable internal spaces that customers and staff and can move to.
4. STAY SAFE Guidance for firearms and weapons attacks: Do your staff follow the Stay Safe principles RUN HIDE TELL?
5. Staff Awareness and Security Culture
Have you briefed your staff on how they can recognise suspicious activity?
- Employee vigilance — http://www.cpni.gov.uk/advice/Personnel-security1/Employee-vigilance/
- Are your staff aware of the procedures to follow should they suspect suspicious behaviour? (Confidential Hotline 0800 789 321. If you require an immediate response call 999)
Are your first aid kits and emergency grab bags checked regularly, complete and accessible?
7. Physical Security
Have you checked CCTV systems? Are they all working correctly? Are the date/time stamps accurate?
8. Mail handling
- A threat may still exist from items delivered to your establishment by hand or by post.
- Are your staff familiar with indicators for suspicious deliveries?
The current winter advertising campaign to the public, as part of ACT: Action Counters Terrorism 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 where police, security staff, retail workers and the public come together to minimise the chance of attacks and mitigate the impact they can have.
Businesses can do this in two ways, the first being to sign up to ACT Awareness e-learning, the innovative online training scheme designed to help industry better understand, and mitigate against, current terrorist methodology.
Secondly, 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 all their staff know the answers to simple questions such as:
- Who is 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 emergency?
- How do you lock down 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?