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Becky Steel, our lead terrorism underwriter reflects on the recent ‘ACT Counter Terrorism’ session she attended in Manchester and shares some of the key learnings.
Awareness is a word that has resonated with me over the last few days following my attendance at the ‘ACT Counter Terrorism’ session in Manchester organised by the Manchester Counter Terrorism Unit. ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) is the nationally recognised Counter Terrorism Awareness training programme produced by NaCTSO (National Counter Terrorism Security Office).
It resonated with me not just because of my role as Lead Terrorism Underwriter at Ensurance, not just because we were sitting in this room watching actual CCTV footage of terrorist attacks of the past, but mainly because whilst we were sitting there, the trial of the brother of the Manchester Arena bomber was taking place at The Old Bailey in London. He is accused, together with his brother, of murdering 22 innocent people, mainly children.
As we sat watching the atrocities of past UK terrorist attacks play out on screen, I was reminded of just how aware we should all be in these terrifying times.
It’s not just Islamic State or Al Qaeda, or the New IRA. It’s National Action (the far-right Neo Nazi group) who are registered and known as a terrorist organisation. It’s animal rights groups so driven by their passion for saving animals lives some have ideologically gone too far. It’s the disgruntled employee, or a lone wolf who has become obsessed with ideological beliefs and expresses these by slaying innocent people as we saw in the 2016 murder of Jo Cox.
I learned a lot in the two and a half hours I sat there mesmerised by the images on the screens. They spared us the sound. You could hear a pin drop in the room.
If I took anything away from the event it was the message of awareness. Every business owner, no what city they’re based in, no matter what industry, should do as much as they can to educate themselves, their staff and their customers to always be aware of their surroundings. Spotting and reporting what you think might be abnormal behaviour could well lead to an event being stopped before it can lead to destruction of lives and property.
I’ve written before about the importance of education, and the importance of brokers highlighting to their clients that they don’t have to be a target to be a victim. Terrorism doesn’t discriminate and as well as ensuring their clients have adequate cover to protect their businesses in the event of a terrorist incident, there are seminars and e-learning opportunities out there. These are available to everyone, designed to raise awareness of the threats out there and give advice on what actions to take to protect your business and your people from or during an attack and I would encourage anyone to look these up and take the time to attend.
I’d like to finish with some useful links;
National Counter Terrorism Security Office – https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/national-counter-terrorism-security-office
The Counter Terrorism Policing ACT campaign –
Ensurance Terrorism & Sabotage cover – https://www.ensuranceuk.com/product/terrorism-sabotage/