For many people, British summer means festivals, and for seasonal staff, it means its time to don high visibility jackets and get to work ensuring everyone had a fun, but safe time. However, with events of such a scale, there is always a dark side, and the potential to be targeted for terrorism is a big concern for the UK government and police.
So, as the UK festival season kicks off, counter terrorism police are working with festival staff to ensure security stays at the forefront of their minds while in attendance of an event.
It’s the second time the ‘Summer Security’ scheme has been in operation, after a previous year that was blighted by terrorism attacks in both London and Manchester, meaning that 10s of thousands of festival staff have already been given training on best practice if a terrorism incident should occur, and what they can do to minimise the chance of that ever happening.
Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth, the new National Coordinator for Protect and Prepare Policing, also wants the general public to familiarise themselves with this knowledge, so that responsibility for the security of events can be shared by the collective.
The training focuses on two pillars. The first is Run. Hide. Tell, which looks to prioritise personal safety. If you can escape, you should, by considering if there is a safe route out. Leave behind personal belongings and get others to leave with you. If there is no safe route, then hide. Find cover behind substantial material, as bullets may go through wood and metal. Barricade yourself in where possible, be aware of your exits and try not to trap yourself. Wen you are safe, it’s time to tell by calling 999 with all the details you can possibly pass on.
The second pillar is to ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) if you see something suspicious. “Don’t think you might be wasting our time, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If something doesn’t look or feel right, tell someone,” said Chief Superintendent Aldworth.
Police were quick to point out that they have no information which is to suggest that summer events have a heightened risk of attack, however, it’s been clear from current events that these can provide targets for terrorist attacks to take place.
“Sadly we have seen that these big public events and crowded spaces can be targeted by those who want to cause harm, but I want to reassure the public that the police, partners and the event organisers are doing all we can to keep them safe and secure,” he continued.
In an emergency, event goers will look to staff for guidance, so ensuring they are well equipped with radios, are visible with high visibility jackets, and that there is a good emergency response plan in place, is key to ensuring impact of any such event is minimised.
Likewise, asking attendees to be patient with security checks will ensure that everyone attending has as great, but safe, as time as possible.