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Crowded Places Guidance and Advice Summary

29th June 2017

The past few years have seen a sharp increase in terrorist related attacks, and while mainland Europe has seen the brunt of the increased activity, the shores of the UK have not gone untouched as highlighted by the recent atrocities in Manchester and London.

As part of the ongoing campaign to tackle extremism and terrorism, the government has re-released its Crowded Places Guidance.

The guidance is primarily designed to assist those who are charged with leading the security function in crowded places, this could include open access public areas, private venues or access controlled public spaces. But we all have a part to play in helping keep our communities safe and secure from terrorism.

The security of our crowded places should not just be left to those in a security role, as anybody who has worked in the security industry will tell you that security is a multi-layered beast which is only as strong as its weakest link. Every-day vigilance from everybody is key in disrupting terrorist attacks in the future, we all have a responsibility.

Keeping our customers, clients, visitors and staff safe is morally correct, which far outstrips any financial or legal obligation, therefore security of our places of work and interest are key.

Many sectors are covered in the guidance, where sector specific advice is given for:

  • Night-time Economy
  • Cinemas and Theatres
  • Stadia and Arenas
  • Retail
  • Health
  • Education
  • Places of Worship
  • Hotels and Restaurants
  • Major Events
  • Visitor Attractions
  • Commercial Centres
  • Transport

The document has been written from advice drawn from many subject matter experts across the country and is intended to be a live document, which means it will be regularly updated and changed where our current security measures have been exploited. The struggle with terrorism is often referred to as a game of cat and mouse where threats constantly evolve and change as we change our security measures to maintain our way of life.

A number of key themes are covered in the document, where immediate actions and preventative measures are defined. Although not every scenario and eventuality can be covered, and it doesn’t go into specific location or building security measures it is a good starting point. It is strongly recommended that a comprehensive set of emergency procedures is created for each of your locations or buildings and regular staff training is conducted in order to provide that moral responsibility.

Key themes include:

  • Managing the Threat
  • Attack Methodology
  • Physical Security
  • Personnel and People Security
  • Personal Security
  • Cyber Security

Included in these key themes is advice on how to deal with:

  • Armed Attack
  • Bomb Threats
  • Vehicle Bombs
  • Suspicious Items
  • Search Planning
  • Suspicious Behaviour

This may all seem like a daunting prospect and an endless stream of added information if you don’t have a dedicated security team within your organisation.  But the principles and actions contained within the document are designed to be easy to follow and implement with a little thought and planning. 

BUT of course, Capita’s Health and Safety Consultants within the Real Estate and Infrastructure Team are more than willing to assist you and your organisation in developing plans, emergency response preparedness, staff training and give general advice on any of the topics contained within the document. As a wise old Military Instructor once told me over 25 years ago at the start of my Army career, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”.

The Crowded places Guidance document can be found on the National Counter Terrorism Security Office website at the following link: national-counter-terrorism-security-office


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