Counter Terrorism Policing’s new Senior National Coordinator for Protect and Prepare is calling on businesses to update their security plans ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions across the UK.
As many bars, restaurants and other businesses prepare to open new outdoor spaces to meet Covid safety regulations, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations (DACSO) Matt Twist wants business owners to ensure these new areas have been properly risk assessed – helping to protect their customers not just against Covid, but terrorism too.
DACSO Matt Twist, who recently replaced Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi as the police officer in charge of the country’s protective security efforts, will meet with business leaders representing multiple sectors including retail, travel, hospitality and sport – to remind them that while Covid-19 might be dominating their current security plans, terrorism has sadly not gone away.
The threat to the UK from terrorism remains at SUBSTANTIAL, meaning an attack is likely, and as public places such as non-essential shops, hospitality and sports events begin to open up, the security experts at Counter Terrorism Policing are encouraging the public and businesses to help the police tackle terrorism and save lives by remaining vigilant and reporting suspicious behaviour.
DACSO Matt Twist said: “Here at Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) we know that businesses have been focussed on rising to the challenges of the pandemic, and that you are keen to welcome customers and staff back to your premises as lockdown restrictions start to ease.
“But we also have the vitally important job of reminding everyone that while Covid-19 is still dominating our lives, we must do all we can to prevent another threat from reappearing - terrorism, sadly, has not gone away.
“I would describe the threat as temporarily suppressed during lockdown, because it was difficult to go out in public and actually do anything.
“So I am concerned that as we prepare ourselves for the return of normality, and the crowded places which have traditionally been the target for terrorists start to fill with people again, there is always the potential for that risk to come back.
“The best defence against the terrorist threat is a collective community effort - where police, security staff, businesses and the public come together to minimise the chance of attack, and CTP have a range of training materials and advice to help businesses improve and update their security plans.”
Counter Terrorism Policing has three actions they wish businesses to carry out before the easing of lockdown restrictions in the coming weeks:
- Arrange for staff to take our Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Awareness online e-learning course. It is free, takes just 45 minutes to complete and could save lives. Hundreds of thousands of people have already completed the modules.
- Review our sector-specific crowded places advice documents, and make sure that you carry out risk assessments on existing sites and any new areas such as outdoor spaces opened to meet Covid safety rules.
- Download the ACT app to your phone to be sure of having the latest official information and updates from Counter Terrorism Policing in your pocket 24/7, and encourage your staff to do the same.
DACSO Matt Twist added: “We want everyone to feel that they have a role to play in national security and making the UK a hostile place for terrorists to operate.
“Our range of ACT products can help you make quick, cost effective improvements to your security plans and help you protect both your business, your staff and your customers.
“It is yet another example of how collaboration and integration between police and the private sector can enhance national security and how we can collectively work together to make all our communities safer.”