Schools, offices and hospitals told to rehearse terrorism response

  • london
  • June 28, 2020
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Schools, offices, hospitals and other public places should rehearse their response to terrorist attacks, the government says.

After last week’s stabbings in Reading, which killed three people, the Home Office has republished earlier advice on preparing for “marauding terror attacks”.

An advice booklet published by the national counter-terrorism security office on the website says the attacks are “fast-moving and violent” with attackers moving through a location aiming to kill or injure as many people as possible before police can reach the scene.

It adds: “Defending your organisation against a marauding terrorist attack is undoubtedly a challenging task… However, with well-developed procedures, security systems, training and rehearsal, lives can be saved.”

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The booklet was first drafted in 2017 and 2018 but was republished after Home Secretary Priti Patel warned last week that the threat from ‘lone-wolf’ terrorists was increasing.

It contains advice such as avoiding the word “firearm” in public announcements as it could be misheard as “fire alarm”.

It recommends text messaging and smartphone apps to raise the alarm and says warnings of a “security incident” can be ineffective.

“Rehearsing the response to a marauding terrorist attack is the only way to ensure that the procedures and technical systems function as expected and to highlight areas for improvement,” the advice says.

“You can go so far with briefing documents, videos and lectures but when you put these people into safe and managed stress test situations that’s where you start to see the real benefit of a full rehearsal,” the booklet adds.