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Police release new guidance for armed attacks

New guidance has been issued informing members of the public how they should behave in the event of an armed attack.

A four-minute film titled Stay Safe: Firearms and Weapons Attack and an accompanying online information leaflet carry the basic message, 'run, hide and tell'.

Anyone who is caught up in an armed attack should first run to a place of safety, which is recommended by the authorities as a "far better option" than surrendering or trying to negotiate.

If escaping to a safe place is not possible, the next best option is to hide, rather than confront the attackers, remembering to switch off phones and anything else that could give away your location.

Finally, when it is safe to do so, contact the police by calling 999.

The guidance could prove equally useful for individuals and organisations with people in their care that might consider themselves at risk of an attack.

It was released in the wake of events including the Paris terror attacks on November 13th 2015, when gunmen targeted restaurants, cafes and a concert venue.

On New Year's Eve, the main rail station in Munich and another station in the west of the city were evacuated after police and security forces discovered a suicide attack plot.

Publishing the new advice, National Counter Terrorism Policing stressed that incidents like these have provided a reminder of the danger posed by terrorists.

In the UK, the current international terrorism threat level is 'severe', which means an attack is considered 'highly likely'.

Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police Service, stressed that the public should not necessarily be alarmed by this warning.

The probability of being caught up in a weapons attack is extremely low, but it is deemed important that people know what to do in the event that they are involved in such an incident.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Basu said police advice has already been given to tens of thousands of people in security training sessions, but it is "only responsible" that the guidance is distributed more widely.

"We know that from case studies and the testimony of people who have survived attacks that the advice given in the film has saved lives," he added.

"With the threat level remaining high, the police and security service continue to operate at a heightened state of readiness - we are working on hundreds of investigations and making an arrest a day. However, it is only with the ongoing support of communities that we can defeat terrorism - you are our eyes and ears so please be alert, but not alarmed."

While the guidance was issued with a focus on terrorism, it was also stressed that the 'run, hide and tell' strategy can prove effective in "many places and situations".

Employers that want to ensure they are delivering maximum protection for their people, property and premises can invest in professional security consultancy, which will give them a stronger grasp of their organisation's unique risks and requirements.

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of iStock

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