NaCTSO issues new emergency preparedness guidance
The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) has issued updated guidance for security managers of crowded places, in the light of the recent change of the threat level in the UK to ‘critical’. While the level has since been reduced to ‘severe’, the guidance nevertheless provides a useful checklist for briefing personnel in some vital aspects of physical security.
The document contains useful guidance regarding security officers’ posture and activity.
- Proactive engagement and staff briefings. One of the most disruptive measures to counter terrorists and wider criminality is a security force that appears to be vigilant and proactively engages with the public. Terrorists and criminals do not want to be spoken to by any member of staff and will actively avoid engagement – this should be polite but professional. If they are spoken to it is likely to make them feel very uncomfortable and exposed. Staff briefings will enable your security officers to understand the importance of proactive engagement and they should be encouraged to do this where practical and reasonable to do so. For example, if security officers patrol to areas in a car (such as a car park), encourage them to get out of the car and engage with people, as simple as saying good morning.
- Unpredictable security measures. Unpredictability results in uncertainty and erosion of confidence in the mind of the hostile who need this predictable security arrangements so that they can plan for likely success. Where practical and reasonable build in unpredictability for example, timings and types of assets and search regimes deployed at your site.
- ‘Recruit’ staff to be vigilant for and immediately report suspicious activity and items. Use existing staff communications such as shift briefings, intranet etc. to inform as to what suspicious activity may look like, to trust their instincts and report immediately to the security control room/police. In these communications convey how their reports will be taken seriously and investigated and where possible showcase where previous staff reporting has led to outcomes, both where there have been benign and security outcomes; this helps promote confidence in reporting.
The NaCTSO guidance contains an additional set of security checklists to help organisations plan their emergency preparedness, covering:
- Initial actions
- Staff vigilance
- Physical security
- Search and screening
- Security personnel
- Good housekeeping
It can be downloaded from the UK Government website in pdf format.