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Crisis Response Journal Crisis Response Journal

News update: Advice to businesses after Westminster attack

Posted on 22nd March 2017 at 20:54pm

Westminster Attack on March 22, 2017 – Update
Senior counter terrorism police have briefed business this week about the Westminster attack, how security measures are being stepped up and to request increased collaboration and assistance from the business community, writes Roger Gomm.
The key points for readers CRJ readers are as follows.

An air ambulance at Parliament Square, London, following the vehicle, knife and firearms incident on Westminster Bridge and in the Westminster Palace grounds (photo: Andy Rain/Rex)

Attack methodology
The threat from terrorism is complex with methodologies ranging from crude attacks using vehicles and knives, through to more sophisticated plots organised by ambitious networks. The aim is the same – to inflict mass casualties and elicit publicity.

Last week's attack on Westminster was crude, yet effective and only lasted 82 seconds! The perpetrator was not a 'subject of interest' in the current counter terrorism landscape, his last offence was in 2003, when he was imprisoned, there is no current evidence that he was radicalised. He used the simple and easily accessible weapons of a car and knife, yet received global publicity for his actions - low sophistication /low tech/low cost technique. It appears that he carried out hostile reconnaissance ahead of his attack.

Security uplift across the UK
Counter terrorism police have reviewed security in a number of locations and the general public will see a noticeable uplift in visible policing, particularly in London and at key locations and events.

Operation Servator – unpredictable deployments of all types of police resources – is being rolled out across London, and increased pan-London communications will be delivered through media channels.

Resources for business
Useful resources for business include counter terrorism awareness training through Project Griffin and Operation Argus. For business and the general public there is the Stay Safe: Run, Hide, Tell video, the recently launched ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) campaign, a NaCTSO Building Security Update and citizen AID, a new tool developed by military and civilian medics to teach the public how to provide potentially life-saving treatment before the arrival of the emergency services. 

PREVENT Strategy
PREVENT aims to discourage people from supporting terrorism, safeguard them against radicalisation and extremism, and prevent them from buying into an ideology or becoming involved in a terrorist/extremist group. 

The briefing covered an overview of characteristics that may leave people vulnerable to extremist ideology and how to recognise signs that could indicate radicalisation.

How you and your business can help
The threat to the UK from terrorism remains at SEVERE, meaning an attack is highly likely. 
Counter terrorism police chiefs are urging the business community and general public to assist them, from being extra pairs of eyes and ears in the community through to reviewing physical security measures and recovery plans.
In particular, businesses are requested to:

  • Review their response and recovery plans;
  • Test and exercise plans;
  • Ensure staff know how to report suspicious activity;
  • Ensure they can respond, recover and have quality business continuity planning;
  • Identify individual leads that know the plans, can take initiative and operate effectively in the event that something similar to the Westminster attack happens in or near the workplace.

The point for us all to remember is that the threat remains at SEVERE (an attack is highly likely).

This update follows our previous news item on the Westminster attack, as follows.

Roger Gomm provides a short update and insight into today's major incident in London.

Readers will all be aware of the shocking events at Westminster, London, a short while ago.

CRJ would like to offer its condolences to the families of the deceased and our thoughts are with the injured from what has been declared to be a terrorist incident in Westminster. 

We would also like to highlight the effective response by first responders – both members of the public and the emergency services – to this incident.

Acting Deputy Commissioner and head of counter terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, Mark Rowley, said a major terrorist investigation was under way. He said the attack started shortly before 15:00hrs (at 14:40hrs) when a car was driven over Westminster Bridge, hitting and injuring a number of members of the public – including the three police officers who were on their way back from a commendation ceremony.

Rowley said after the car crashed, a man armed with a knife: "Continued the attack and tried to enter Parliament.” Witnesses say there was what appeared to be a warning shout and then the crack of three or four shots before the attacker fell to the floor. It is reported the man believed to be the assailant has since died

London Ambulance Service Deputy Director of Operations Pauline Cranmer said: “Our thoughts are with the friends and families of those affected by today’s incident.

“We treated 12 patients for serious injuries, who were all taken to hospital. Eight further patients were treated for less serious injuries at the scene. Sadly, three people also died at the scene." It is reported that foreign nationals, including students from France, were among the injured.

Cranmer continued: “We were called to the incident at 14.40hrs today, with the first ambulance crew arriving within six minutes. We sent a number of resources to the scene including ambulance crews, London’s Air Ambulance and specialist teams trained to respond to this type of incident." 

“We have been working closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene, with our priority being to ensure patients received the medical help they needed as quickly as possible. We declared a major incident and our priority was to assess patients and ensure that they were treated and taken to hospital as soon as possible,” Cramer added.

London Fire Brigade was called at 14:47hrs. In a statement, it said that firefighters assisted police with the incident at Westminster. Three fire engines, two fire rescue units and around 25 firefighters were at the scene. Earlier, firefighters on the Brigade’s fireboat rescued a woman from the river Thames and bought them to Tower Pier, where she received medical care.

The Metropolitan Police Service is not advising that people change their plans, lock down buildings, or anything of this kind. It does continue to advise, however, that all communities and partners remain alert but not alarmed. 

CRJ would add that there has been no change to the UK threat level: currently at ‘severe.’ Importantly, it has not been increased to ‘critical’ (meaning an attack is expected imminently). We would expect a thorough background investigation into the attacker, which may lead to further arrests or activity.

Communities in the Westminster area should be prepared for likely congestion that will potentially last for several days. 

Police are appealing for any members of the public who may have images or footage of the incident to send them here.

Casualty Bureau is now open on 0800 056 0944 and 0207 158 0010. If you are worried about family or friends involved in today's incident please call Casualty Bureau on either number listed above and choose Option 1. If you were involved in today's incident and are safe, please call Casualty Bureau on either number listed above and choose Option 2.

The Police warned that the demand on Casualty Bureau will be high, so worried friends and relatives should keep trying. Also, if people are safe, they should let their freidns and famkly know, as this will relieve pressure on Casualty Bureau.

Facebook has also activated its Safety Check.

Our advice to you is: 

  •          Remain alert not alarmed/clearly brief staff
  •          Review you plans (dynamic lock-down).
  •          Report all suspicious sightings as soon as possible: DIAL 999

 Roger Gomm 

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