While the good times should roll at this time of year, it is important to consider security and, in particular, counter terrorism. We are one year on from the attacks in Paris that involved a restaurant and a live music venue and, in the past, counter terrorism police have foiled planned attacks in entertainment areas of central London and Birmingham. The UK threat level for international terrorism is currently at ‘severe’, meaning that an attack is highly likely.
It is important to consider your security measures, staff training and how prepared you would actually be should your premises be subject to, or indirectly involved in a terrorist attack.
Preparing for a terrorist attack can seem like an unnecessary burden in addition to your existing security provisions, but it is important to bear in mind that terrorism is a crime and many of the measures you have in place to deter criminals can also be effective against the threat of terrorism.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 sets out requirements for those who own or operate licensed premises to identify risks and make provision for management of those risks. It is, therefore, important that you carry out a risk assessment and put a policy in place to deal with any identified problems. Your staff should be provided with the relevant training and equipment to deal with a terrorist attack and it is also important to ensure that there is co-operation with neighbouring businesses to ensure a cohesive response if there is an attack in your area.
Terrorism can take many different forms and cyber terrorism is an increasing problem. There have been many stories in the press recently of cyber attacks leaving customer data exposed to hackers or, in more serious cases, entire systems being held to ransom unless large sums of money are paid to hackers to regain control of the system. You should implement an IT policy for staff and also consider ways to effectively back up data and implement systems to prevent an attack. Not only can a cyber attack prevent you from running your day-to-day operations, the reputational damage that is caused by such an attack can have lasting consequences for trade if customer confidence is lost.
While identifying risks and implementing procedures to tackle those risks should they occur is the first step in preparing your business, it is imperative that those risks and accompanying procedures are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Terrorists are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods so regular reviews of any security measures will ensure that you have the best possible chance of protecting your business, staff and customers should the worst happen.