Pool Re: A short guide to festive terrorism risk management planning for Hospitality and High Streets


Authored by Pool Re

Retail and hospitality businesses will no doubt be looking forward to a busy festive period, many of which have endured an incredibly difficult past 18 months due to pandemic lockdowns. However, as high streets, bars and restaurants become a hive of activity the UK Counter Terrorism and Metropolitan Police have warned of the increased likelihood of a terrorist attack.

Businesses are being urged to remain vigilant during the Christmas period, as the combination of crowded places and the two recent attacks that prompted the UK’s terrorism threat level to be raised to SEVERE, may spur more terrorist activity.

Keeping staff and customers safe should be at the forefront of businesses’ festive planning however, terrorism risk management is often deemed either unnecessary, too costly or too complex to implement. Recent examples of targeted terrorist attacks during the festive period, such as the Breitscheid Platz Christmas market lorry attack in November 2016 and the Strasbourg Market firearms attack in December 2018, serve as pertinent reminders of the importance of terrorism preparedness.

There are a number of quick, simple and cost-effective ways your business can improve its resilience to a terrorist attack – helping keep customers and staff safe this Christmas.

1. Empower your staff to identify and report suspicious activity

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) writes “Your people are your biggest advantage in preventing and tackling a range of threats, including criminal activity, unlawful protest and terrorism.” As a result, they have developed a training programme called See, Check and Notify (SCaN) designed to empower staff to correctly identify suspicious activity and know what to do when they encounter it. The tailored short courses cover suspicious activity, vigilance, the power of hello and reporting. 

2. Invest in First Aid training and resources

First aid is vital to bridge the gap until emergency services arrive. This can be provided by St Johns Ambulance or a specialist medical provider.

You may want to consider holding an Advanced Trauma Pack in your office or building which can be used by the emergency services in the event of a mass casualty event.

3. Take advantage of free resources

A proactive approach to risk management that includes appropriate insurance is vital for recovery if the worst should happen. Our guide for small businesses provides a range of tools and information to help address the risk or read our latest sector-specific risk guide for retail and hospitality businesses.

There is also a wealth of excellent, free resources published by organisations such as Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO). As a starting point, read NaCTSO’s short guide on how to identify suspicious items and behaviours as well as the CTP’s ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ training for responding to a firearms or weapons attack.

For specific counter-terror advice, information and guides for crowded places, visit the NaCTSO’s Crowded Places guidance hub.

4. Ensure you have completed your ‘Sixty Second Security’ plan

The ‘Sixty Second Security’ plan is a quick checklist of questions every member of staff should be able to answer in order to drastically improve reaction times in the event of an emergency. Ensure you have addressed the following six questions:

  • Who is appointed to make decisions on the shop floor, and do they know what they’re doing?
  • How do you enter and exit the building in emergency?
  • How do you lock down quickly?
  • Where can you hide?
  • How do you communicate and how do you stay updated if you find yourself in a ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ scenario?
  • Have you briefed your staff?

5. Check your insurance provision

The above measures can help reduce the impact of a potential attack and even dissuade a terrorist from targeting your business. Despite this, a terrorist event may still occur. In this instance, a comprehensive terrorism insurance programme that protects you against all types of threats including non-damage business interruption (NDBI) is the best way to ensure your business’ resilience.

Are you Protect Duty prepared?

Whilst many businesses currently include the safety of staff and customers in a number of their health and safety risk assessments, quite often these are not terrorism specific scenarios. In order to address this the Government are currently working on a new Protect Duty legislation likely to become law in the second half of 2022.

Protect Duty will require an estimated 650,000 UK businesses in publicly accessible locations to understand the risk of terrorism to their business and identify actions required to address the risk. Businesses must then work to ensure their plans and counter-measures are proportionate and appropriate to the threat.

The guidance we have provided is based on current counter-terrorism best practice advice. Whilst it is not intended to be a comprehensive terrorism risk management guide, the measures outline some basic, minimal cost and simple-to-implement processes intended to help businesses begin to prepare for Protect Duty.


About Pool Re

Pool Re’s purpose is to enable the UK insurance market to offer terrorism cover to any commercial property that requires it. Central to this is the integration of Pool Re’s cover with the underlying property policy which ensures that there is no gap in the cover provided.

Pool Re was designed to insulate the taxpayer from potential financial losses arising from acts of terrorism. It has achieved this effectively, to date paying £635m in respect of 13 claims arising from certified terrorism events in the UK since our establishment. It has never called on the Government’s guarantee.

By providing foundational stability at a reinsurance level, Pool Re has created an environment for the commercial market to re-establish itself, following the market failure in 1992. This stability creates and sustains access, liquidity and confidence to generate the conditions for the private market to gradually write a growing portion of terrorism risk.

Helping UK businesses build resilience against terrorism risk is a priority for Pool Re who have developed SOLUTIONS an in-house centre of excellence created to support Members and policyholders better understand risk awareness, modelling, and management. They have also invested in a range of initiatives with Government security and intelligence agencies to provide tools such as an information sharing platform.


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