Update on Malicious Hoax Communications

Since the 15th December 2018 a number of malicious hoax communications, mainly by telephone, have been received by businesses and other organisations stating that an incident was going to take place at a specific location. The premises mentioned have included, although not exclusively limited to, hotel premises and have been located in various locations across the United Kingdom.

The content of the communications have outlined methodologies which have included, but may not be limited in the future to:

  • Hostage situations;
  • Improvised explosive devices;
  • Use of Firearms;
  • Use of bladed

Businesses are reminded that whilst calls of this nature could be a hoax communication, it is important that all calls are treated and assessed on a case by case basis.

There is no change to the UK terrorist threat level, which remains at SEVERE; meaning an attack is highly likely.

All businesses should consider this advice in the event that these communications are sent to other types of location. Consider what steps you could take to:

  • reassure your customers and staff;
  • review and implement proportionate protect and prepare security

1.  Bomb threats: Procedures for handling bomb threats.

Most bomb threats are made over the phone and the overwhelming majority are hoaxes, made with the intent of causing alarm and disruption. Any hoax is a crime and, no matter how ridiculous or unconvincing, must be reported to the police.

Dial 999 and police will respond. You should always consider their advice before a decision is taken to close or evacuate.

Guidance on receipt of a bomb threat and a checklist that can be used.

2.  If this prompts you to review your emergency planning, consider the following:

  • Search Planning

Do you have plans to search your site to deal effectively with either bomb threats or for secreted threat items; are all your staff familiar with those plans and what to do if they find a suspicious item?

Good housekeeping reduces the opportunity for suspicious items to be placed and assists effective search.

  •  Search planning guidance


3.  Evacuation/Invacuation planning

It is vital that you are able to move your customers and staff away from danger in a controlled way. Ensure you have a number of options available, well sign- posted and notified to people on your site. Keep routes clear.

Sometimes it may be safer to remain inside a building; identify the most suitable internal spaces that customers and staff and can move to.

Evacuation Planning — NaCTSO Crowded Places Guidance 2017 — page 72

4. STAY SAFE Guidance for firearms and weapons attacks: Do your staff follow the Stay Safe principles RUN HIDE TELL?


Stay safe film https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stay-safe-film

Dynamic lockdown guidance — https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/developing-dynamic-lockdown- procedures

Vehicle Security

Many businesses, especially during busy periods such as the festive season, have the supply and delivery of goods by vehicles as part of their core business function. It is important that consideration is given to the security of vehicles,  of all sizes, as well as the safety of the vehicle operators . Help reduce criminal and suspicious activity by following these simple steps:






Preventing Vehicles Being Used as Weapon

  • Use of large vehicles positioned in such a way as to create a ‘soft road closure’ may act as a deterrent to a would be attacker. It can be easily moved to permit authorised vehicular and/or emergency
  • Use of pedestrian barriers or Heras fencing will not stop a momentum vehicle, but may act as a deterrent and slowing mechanism. If this is all that is available, then it should be
  • Legally positioning of machinery or street furniture such as large generators, skips, cherry pickers and forklifts at temporary events, will offer some protection and slow down considerably a hostile
  • Where a vehicle management or exclusion zone is being developed for a crowded event area, there must be early engagement with all emergency services and local NHS Trust to consider the wider impact, especially where key healthcare facilities fall within the
  • The vehicle should be switched off and locked at all times when not on the
  • Non-essential event vehicles should be parked outside of the event footprint throughout the event
  • Compounding of vehicles within the footprint with dedicated security will significantly reduce the risk of hijack or theft.

Action Counters Terrorism (ACT).

It is an innovative 45-minute training  scheme that could help prevent terror attacks and it covers how to spot the signs of suspicious behaviour and what to do if an attack should take place. Free to use, the package can be divided into short sections to suit business needs and it takes just three quarters of an hour to complete – 45 vital minutes that could save lives.

The ACT 2018 campaign was implemented to reinforce one particular message

– that communities defeat terrorism. We encourage businesses to apply for registration and make us of this free resource.

For more information, please visit the National Counter Terrorism Security Office website here.

The current winter advertising campaign to the public, as part of ACT: Action Counters Terrorism aims to encourage the public to remain vigilant, look out for suspicious behaviour and inform people how to report their concerns, providing a ‘whole society’ approach where police, security staff, retail workers and the public come together to minimise the chance of attacks and mitigate the impact they can have.

Here is a quick checklist which can improve staff reactions in the event of an emergency, it requires businesses to ensure all their staff know the answers to simple questions such as:

  • 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 RHT scenario?
  • Have you briefed your staff?