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Elevated threat: Implications for businesses and individuals 

As you will know, the current UK threat level from international terrorism for the UK is assessed as SEVERE, writes Roger Gomm

SEVERE means that a terrorist attack is highly likely.

This assessment is made not by politicians, but by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, or JTAC, which analyses and assesses all intelligence relating to international terrorism at home and overseas.

JTAC sets threat levels and issues warnings of threats and other terrorist-related subjects for customers from a wide range of government departments and agencies, as well as producing more in-depth reports on trends, terrorist networks and capabilities.

It is because of this process that I believe we should all take stock and take it as an opportunity to review our plans.

In the UK it is the Government's policy to issue warnings or advice if this ever became necessary to protect public safety in the event of a specific and credible terrorist threat, which they have done on Friday.

The terrorist threat can take a number of forms, as terrorists may use a variety of methods of attack to achieve their objectives. These may include explosive devices, firearms, missiles, kidnapping, infiltration and electronic attacks.

You have heard or read the warnings so what does it mean to you?

Members of the public should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism and report any suspicious activity to the police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321. The slogan 'alert but not alarmed' is one used in the past which equates to a steady state of proportionate vigilance.

The business community has a number of processes in place to maintain the safety and security of staff and premises; these should be reviewed and may be increased both visibly and covertly.

However, it is also sensible discuss the threat level with your security and reception staff, remind employees of there responsibilities, ie wearing name badges, and the process for reporting suspicious activity, etc.

The management team should take the opportunity to discuss 'safety and security' at the next meeting and refresh the crisis management arrangements. All organisations, both public and private, find crises challenging. Although successful outcomes can never be guaranteed, having a well-developed and understood crisis management plan enables an organisation to respond effectively in order to protect its people, property and assets.

This crisis management capability must be directed from the top of an organisation and implemented through a crisis management process, which must include training and rehearsals.

Perhaps the key is to 'anticipate and assess', which is linked to the management of risks. I would suggest that any organisation that fails example to respond to what ought to a reasonably foreseeable risk is likely to call into question its competence.

We have been warned of the potential, ie 'a terrorist attack is highly likely'. The security and emergency services will be actively seeking specific intelligence, while reviewing capability and response plans over the next few days.

I think all organisations should discuss safety and security arrangements (people, property and assets) and review their crisis management plans. These issues should be an agenda item for Monday morning meetings and perhaps remain such while the threat remains at severe.

Roger Gomm QPM FICPEM FSyI is a Member of CRJ’s Editorial Advisory Panel 

Roger Gomm, 10/10/2014
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