Working together to protect crowded places

A review has told the Government that they need to look closely at how we deal with the threat of terrorism at a local level, including local businesses, local government and police. They want to see what they can do that will help local areas carry on their business as usual, as much as possible, if there is an attack. The government sees local authorities taking a big role, and they should make a plan, working with local groups and suppliers, on how to reduce the risks in their area.

Who is this consultation for?
• local authorities • local businesses ◦ shopping centres ◦ sports venues ◦ night clubs, restaurants ◦ other places likely to hold large amounts of people at any one time. This doesn't include railway stations, airports, or other transport links – they already have the Transport Security Directorate at the Department for Transport to advise them. It also doesn't include schools.

This is the first part of this unofficial consultation translation. The second part is a guide for local authorities on how to put counter terrorism security into local planning. Simply Understand has not translated this yet, but you can see the original consultation on the Home Office site.

Who is looking at the big picture?
Nationally, a branch of the Home Office, called the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, is in charge of how we deal with the threat of terrorism. They were set up for four reasons, to: • catch terrorists, • stop people becoming terrorists • increase security • prepare so that we can lessen the effects of any attack They have overall responsibility for investigating terrorist threats at national, regional and local level.

How are we going to pay for local protection against terrorism?
In the past, the public has paid for security measures to protect services they use as part of their normal payments, for example some of the money from your gas bill or a football ticket will pay for armed police when there's a danger of terrorist attack. The government would like this to still be the main way we pay for increased security. The government has spent an extra £2.7 million stocking more physical barriers and working on ways to get them put in place quickly and effectively when they are needed. The government is also paying just over £1.5 million a year to employ nearly 80 more counter-terrorism specialists, working in the police force, so that they can cover a wider area and help with local security better.

Is this right, or is there another way?

What will these counter terrorism specialists do?
The counter-terrorism specialists will work with local authorities, concentrating on crowded places in the local area where a terrorist attack would have the most serious effect. They should listen to local authorities, who should represent the different businesses involved, and local police.

The specialists will work out how risky crowded places in the local area are, and recommend changes the local authorities can put in place to help make a terrorist attack less likely, or at the very least, less effective. The first phase of this should already be complete, and the specialists' risks and recommendations will be looked at again every six months, measuring how far local authorities have got with security improvements each time. The full results won't be published for the general public. Instead, local businesses will get enough information to help them make any security changes they need to, and the local authority will know how much at risk the area is in general.

Do you think this is the right approach, and if not, how else can we protect the sensitive information in the results at the same time as keeping everyone who needs to be in the know?

Risk levels
If the counter terrorism specialist works out that the risk of terrorist attack is medium-high to high, the local authority needs to think about putting a plan in place that will help local businesses and other partners reduce that risk. The security measures they recommend should be at the right level, and there should be a way of tracking how the plan is going and keeping it going. These plans will feed into the national plan, and the government doesn't expect quick fixes, they are looking for long term plans that will improve security. The consultation does not go into how local authorities should deal with a low – medium risk of terrorist attack.

Is there anything else that would help make sure the people in charge of the new security arrangements don't overreact, or don't react enough to the threat?

What should be happening in my local area?
The government is recommending that local authorities take the lead and bring together local police, fire and rescue and health services to meet and work on increasing security in the local area. Between them they should work out who is going to take the lead. If they can't work this out, the local counter-terrorist specialists will help them come to a local agreement. Is there anyone else who would need to be involved?

Is it alright to rely on these local agreements, or do we need new laws?

Local authorities
Local authorities have a major role to play: • they own roads and other transport structures, as well as large amounts of public space • they can build security measures against terrorism into their planning permission needs • their experience in managing business continuity – plans for when things go wrong – is very valuable to local businesses • they have the power to set local priorities for crime, which includes terrorism. The fire services should be involved in planning applications where crowd control is a factor, such as sporting and large scale entertainment venues.

The National Health Service has it's own security management service in England and Wales, and security usually belongs to the facilities department in Scotland. The security management service may be developed in the future, when the Government looks at workplaces with high populations separately.

Local businesses and volunteer organisations should get training from their local counter-terrorism specialists, including advice on how to improve security, depending on the risk level in their area. The local authorities should involve them in planning security measures through business forums. They should pay careful attention to safety laws, like fire prevention and access routes. The National Counter Terrorism Security Office has a lot of advice and guidance for businesses on how to improve their security against terrorist threats. The counterterrorism specialists will be training businesses with this material, and also running practice drills by taking businesses through a pretend attack. They will also be setting up more practice drills for nightclubs, restaurants and more, as well as training for architects, city planners and builders so we can start building security features in from the beginning.

What else can the counter terrorism specialists and local authorities do to involve local businesses?

What are some good examples of how to help prevent terrorist attacks?
On the street • • Using CCTV, including numberplate recognition. Speed bumps and bends in roads, so that people are slowed down and it's easier to tell who they are and what they are doing, can help prevent car bombs, as can better security for goods entrances / service bays, toughened window glass, practising bomb drills, installing tough barriers and training staff to identify suspicious vehicles. Controlling litter bins Training traffic wardens to identify suspicious behaviour and vehicles

This is a completely unofficial consultation translation from Simply Understand. The original consultation is on the Home Office website. Tell the government what you think by emailing them or writing to: Crowded Places team Home Office Office for Security and Counter Terrorism 5th Floor Peel Building 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF

• •

At stadiums and entertainment venues • Not allowing bags in the venue (rewarding people who don't have them by letting them in faster), random searching of bags. Regular searches of the entire venue. Training for staff on identifying suspicious behaviour. Know your crowd – people out shopping, with different wants and needs, will behave differently from football fans in a stadium.

• • •

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful