The threat level for terrorism is currently at “severe”, which means that an attack is highly likely. The warning has been issued in the same week as Counter Terrorism Awareness Week, which runs between 28 November to 4 December 2016.
Crowded areas and entertainment venues such as pubs are often seen as high risk so licensees are being advised to be prepared and have plans in place to deal with a possible attack.
Sarah Taylor, associate at Poppleston Allen, said it was important to remind licensees to prepare.
“At this busy time of year, licensees often take their attention away from security. Although it is the festive season, there are still some dangers and the threat level is high,” she warned.
“It is important that licensees recognise the risks and adequately prepare for the event of an attack.”
Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls has advised pubs to ensure their staff members are briefed and follow advice from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO).
“The NaCTSO provides tailored information for hospitality businesses on the threat of terrorism in the UK,” said Nicholls.
“We would advise pubs and bars to consult the guidance and to make sure that staff members of thoroughly briefed according to it. Any venues with specific concerns should contact NaCTSO for more information.”
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has recently published its own advice called Managing Safety in Pubs. It said there should be robust protective security measures available to mitigate against the threat of terrorism, eg, protection from flying glass.
Pubs are advised to have risk assessments detailing all the protective security measures to be implemented. It is important that they have plans on how to respond to a threat such as a telephone bomb threat, how to respond to the discovery of a suspicious item, evacuation plans and details on securing premises in the event of a full evacuation.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Our updated guidance is designed to help licensees identify risk, and keep their venues safe and welcoming as we approach the busy festive period."
Advice from the National Police Chiefs' Council
"Counter Terrorism Awareness Week aims to inform the public and businesses about the threat and give practical advice on how to deal with suspicious activity or attacks.
"The UK threat level remains at 'severe', meaning an attack is highly likely, and the police and security services are working hard to protect all our communities. Our activities and intelligence are under constant review.
"Our principle advice all year round is to be alert but not alarmed. We advise everyone to remain vigilant and to report any concerns to the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always dial 999.
"In addition, 'run, hide, tell' is the easy-to-remember message that explains what people should do if they are confronted by terrorists:
"First 'run' to a place of safety. This is a far better option than trying to surrender or negotiate. If there is nowhere to run then 'hide'. It is better to hide than confront. Remember to turn your phone to silent and turn off vibrate. Barricade yourself in if you can. Then finally, and only when it is safe to do so, 'tell' by calling police on 999.
"National counter terrorism policing has a team dedicated to giving specialist advice to businesses, including the those working in the hospitality sector. This is done mainly through Project Argus and Project Griffin. More information can be found by visiting the NaCTSO website."
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