Ark Workplace Risk's News

International terrorism - threat level is now ‘severe’

The Government has recently announced that the threat level from international terrorism has changed from substantial to severe in response to the developments in Syria and Iraq.

The Government has recently announced that the threat level from international terrorism has changed from substantial to severe in response to the developments in Syria and Iraq. This means it is highly likely that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK.

Ark are therefore advising its clients to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to Police.  Anyone with information is urged to call the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

Ark would recommend that clients should take this opportunity to review their security stance and Business Continuity plans to ensure that they are reflective of this threat level increase. They may wish to consider within this review what extra security measures may be proportionate or necessary as well as whether the plans have been tested recently.

For all sites and businesses engaged within the National Crowded Places program they should continue to engage with their CTSAs to develop their protective security (PSIA) processes and Action Plans.  This will assist in the review process and give direction to improving your protective security stance and regime.

In the meantime we would recommend the following:

Ensure good housekeeping - what to do

  • Avoid the use of litter bins around critical/vulnerable areas of the premises i.e. it may well be prudent if littler bins are provided that they are secured where they are sited next to or near glazing, support structures, most sensitive or critical areas and make sure they are covered by your CCTV and operators.
  • Ensure that there is additional and prompt cleaning in these areas.
  • Consider the use of clear bags for waste disposal - as it provides an easier opportunity for staff to conduct an initial examination for suspicious items.
  • Review the use and security of any compactors, wheelie bins and metal bins used to store rubbish within service areas, goods entrances and near areas where crowds congregate.  Consider locking them and restricting access.
  • Check and review your procedure for the management of contractors, their vehicles regarding waste collection services. The vehicle registration mark of each vehicle (and its occupants) should be known to the security staff or manager in advance.
  • Keep public and communal areas e.g. exits, entrances, lavatories, service corridors and yards clean and tidy.
  • Lock unoccupied offices, rooms and store cupboards. Consider placing tamper - proof plastic seals on maintenance hatches. Keep all external areas as clean and tidy as possible.
  • Consider pruning all vegetation and trees, especially near entrances; this will assist in surveillance and prevent concealment of any packages.

Review emergency plans - what to do

  • Check to make sure that the emergency procedures are in place, up to date and all key staff have easy access to them.
  • Check to make sure that all staff are aware of the procedures and arrangements.
  • Arrange regular refresher toolbox talks.
  • Check that lock down and or evacuation plans are known to the entire team.
  • Ensure adequate search planning is in place.

Note: Current guidance and advice suggests that Car parks should not be used as assembly areas and furthermore, assembly areas should always be searched before they are utilised.

Check CCTV systems - what to do

  • Ensure that the CCTV systems are maintained.
  • Check for broken cameras and black spots.
  • Ensure the date and time stamps of the system are accurate. Regularly check the quality of recordings - ensure the images recorded are clear – that people and vehicles are clearly identifiable.
  • Digital CCTV images should be stored in accordance with local guidance.
  • Check to make sure that the lighting systems complement the CCTV system during both daytime and the hours of darkness.
  • Keep your recorded footage for at least 31 days.
  • Check that the images captured are of the right area.
  • Give consideration to the number of camera images a single CCTV operator can effectively monitor at any one time.
  • Check to make sure that you have sufficient qualified staff to continue to monitor your CCTV system during an incident, evacuation or search.

Ensure adequate security planning - what to do

  • Review your security plans and protocols taking into consideration the new threat level.
  • Increase and adjust your security patrols – stagger the patrols where possible.
  • Improve visibility of security by using hi-vis jackets (if not already used).
  • Check that all protective security measures are in place and are operational (hard and soft protective measures).
  • Review your search plans; practice them.
  • Check to ensure that contingency plans and arrangements are available and operational.
  • Ensure all incidents and suspicions are collated, properly escalated by the team to management who can then consider informing the police.

Ensure grab bags are fully stocked, batteries charged, readily accessible etc - what to check

  • Review the contents of your grab bags.
  • Check the contents of the bag, their availability and location.
  • Consider the Contents – below is a suggested list of items to be included; 
    • First aid kit (designed for major emergencies) consider large bandages, burn shields or cling film, large sterile strips, cold packs, baby wipes as well as standard first aid equipment.
    • Torch and spare batteries or wind up.
    • Emergency and Floor plans (laminated).
    • List of Contacts (laminated) staff etc.
    • Incident Log (consider dictaphone), notebook, pens, markers, etc.
    • Glow sticks.
    • Radio (wind up if possible).
    • High visibility jackets.
    • Loud hailer and spare batteries.
    • Hazard and cordon tape.
    • Plastic macs / foil blankets / bin liners.
    • Dust / toxic fume masks.
    • Water (plastic container) and chocolate/glucose tablets.
    • Computer back-up tapes / disks / USB memory sticks or flash drives (see extra documents to be stored below).
    • Spare keys / security codes.
    • Mobile telephone with credit available, plus charger (wind up if possible).
    • Disposable / small camera.
    • Hard hats / protective goggles / heavy duty gloves.
    • Business Continuity Plan - your plan to recover your business or organisation.
    • Communication strategy, signage and messaging.
    • Lists of customer and supplier details
    • Contact details for emergency glaziers and building contractors.
    • Contact details for utility companies
    • Building site plan, including location of gas, electricity and water shut off points.
    • Insurance company details.
    • Local authority contact details.
    • Latest stock and equipment inventory.

    • List of employees with contact details - include home and mobile numbers. You may also wish to include next-of-kin contact details.

Monitor for hostile reconnaissance - what to look for

  • Significant interest being taken in the outside of your premises including parking areas, delivery gates, doors and entrances.
  • Groups or individuals taking significant interest in the location of CCTV cameras and controlled areas. People taking pictures – filming – making notes – sketching of the security measures at your location.
  • Tourists should not necessarily be taken as such and should be treated sensitively, but with caution.
  • Overt/covert photography, video cameras, possession of photographs, maps, blueprints etc., of critical infrastructures, electricity transformers, gas pipelines, telephone cables etc.
  • Possession of maps, global positioning systems, (GPS), photographic equipment, (cameras, zoom lenses, camcorders). GPS will assist in the positioning and correct guidance of weapons such as mortars and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs). This should be considered a possibility up to one kilometre from any target.
  • Vehicles parked outside buildings of other facilities, with one or more people remaining in the vehicle, for longer than would be considered usual.
  • Parking, standing or loitering in the same area on numerous occasions with no apparent reasonable explanation.
  • Prolonged static surveillance using operatives disguised as demonstrators, street sweepers, etc. or stopping and pretending to have car trouble to test response time for emergency services.
  • Simple observation such as staring or quickly looking away.
  • Activity inconsistent with the nature of the building.
  • The same or similar individuals returning to carry out the same activity to establish the optimum time to conduct the operation.
  • Unusual activity by contractor’s / delivery vehicles.
  • Recent damage to perimeter security, breaches in fence lines or walls or the concealment in hides of mortar base plates or assault equipment, i.e. ropes, ladders, food etc. Regular perimeter patrols should be instigated months in advance of a high profile event to ensure this is not happening.
  • Attempts to disguise identity – motorcycle helmets, hoodies etc, or multiple sets of clothing to change appearance.
  • Constant use of different paths, and/or access routes across a site. ‘Learning the route’ or foot surveillance involving a number of people who seem individual but are working together.
  • Multiple identification documents – suspicious, counterfeit, altered documents etc.
  • Either non co-operation with police or security personnel or more accommodating than usual.
  • Those engaged in reconnaissance will often attempt to enter premises to assess the internal layout and in doing so will alter their appearance and provide cover stories.
  • In the past reconnaissance operatives have drawn attention to themselves by asking peculiar and in depth questions of employees or others more familiar with the environment.

Sightings of suspicious activity should be passed immediately to your security management team for CCTV monitoring and the event recorded for evidential purposes.


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