Following on from our special bulletin of yesterday, here is a further update on the terror attack in Westminster, along with some additional guidance, and information:
SUMMARY OF INCIDENT THUS FAR
- Four people have died and 40 people have been injured in a terror attack near the Houses of Parliament
- At 14.40 GMT a single attacker drove a car over Westminster Bridge, near the Houses of Parliament in central London, killing at least two pedestrians and injuring many more
- The car then crashed into railings outside the Houses of Parliament
- The attacker, armed with a knife, ran to Parliament where he was confronted by the police. One officer, PC Keith Palmer – who was not armed – was stabbed and killed
- The attacker was shot dead by armed officers
- This was the first time a terror attack has been conducted in the UK where a conventional vehicle has been used as the primary ‘weapon’ of attack
- The terrorist was also armed with a knife, which dealt the fatal blow to PC Palmer
- Although reports indicate that the attack may have been the action of a lone wolf, a number of arrests have been made across the UK suggesting that more than one person was involved in the planning, or coordination of the attack
- Significantly, Daesh (Islamic State) has belatedly claimed responsibility for the attack, although that claim should not necessarily be taken at face value, since terror groups such as Al Qaeda, and Daesh, will often claim responsibility for the terrorist actions of others in order to boost their own warped reputation
IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR READERS AND CUSTOMERS
The use of a conventional vehicle (in this case, a small car) demonstrates the ease with which terrorists can inflict death, injury and mayhem without recourse to firearms such as assault rifles, pistols or IEDs. The implications for those involved in the protection of premises and property, is that focus must be placed on examining existing security measures and, in particular, having adequate defence in depth, i.e. a layered approach to protective security in place. Thus, for example, outer perimeter security such as fencing, lockable gates, CCTV, access control, appropriate Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) measures, and of course vigilant and alert security officers, are all vital components in the prevention of attacks, as well as countering the gathering of hostile reconnaissance.
It seems more than a coincidence that the terrorist in this incident, after mowing down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge (an area frequently teeming with tourists and office workers) would then choose to crash his vehicle into railings close to, what is being described, as the weakest segment in perimeter security at the Palace of Westminster. This suggests that the perpetrator had this information to hand, and was thereby able to launch a knife attack, resulting in the tragic killing of an unarmed officer. It must equally be acknowledged that by tackling the terrorist at that outer perimeter, the bravery of unarmed police officers restricted the threat of further death and injury beyond the very perimeter being guarded.
As a consequence of the above we pose some questions below which we hope will assist you to take practical steps to mitigate the threats from terrorism, and ramming attacks:
- Are you satisfied with your existing access control physical measures?
- Have you assessed whether Hostile Vehicle Mitigation measures are required?
- Is entry to your premises or estates adequately controlled?
- Can you deploy security personnel to perimeter areas which enable them to safely look out for vehicles being driven at excessive speed?
- Are reporting mechanism fast enough to enable prompt activation of lockdowns in the event of a speeding vehicle being detected?
- Who has operational control?
- Are your personnel trained to understand and identify hostile reconnaissance?
- What contingency plans exist to address situations where someone or something worrying or suspicious is discovered?
- Do you have updated evacuation and invacuation contingency plans?
- Are reporting procedures adequate in terms of escalation of concerns, and police support?
- Restrict both pedestrian and vehicular access to authorised persons and vehicles only
- Maintain a good flow of intelligence and information, including close liaison with local Police and Counter-Terrorism advisors
- Have the right calibre of trained people in place, including well trained Security teams
- Carry out regular tests (including Penetration Tests) and drills of all security and safety systems
- Implement both internal and external security audits
- Ensure that Contingency and Emergency plans are in place and are easily accessible for all relevant personnel
- Always ensure that Security teams are alert to suspicious behaviour and activity in or around your subject premises or environment!
REMEMBER! It is vital that Access Control and anti-tailgating measures are as robust as possible, and that unauthorised persons are not allowed to gain access to your premises!
Despite this attack, the international terror threat level in the UK remains at severe, meaning an attack is “highly likely”.
|The current threat level from international terrorism for the UK was raised on 29 August 2014 and is now assessed as: SEVERE
|The threat level for Irish related terrorism is set separately for Northern Ireland and Great Britain
In Northern Ireland it is: SEVERE and in Great Britain SUBSTANTIAL
Everyone should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism and report any suspicious activity to the Police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.
You may end up saving a life or lives… and there is nothing more rewarding than that…
The following telephone numbers may be useful:
- Corps Security Central Support – 0141 847 2044
- Specific advice on Counter-Terrorism matters: 020 7566 0516
Editor: Mike Bluestone
Associate Editor: Emma Brooksbank