Counter Terrorism: Business Advice
GMP are asking businesses to take steps to ensure their own security arrangements are up to date and help reduce their vulnerability.
They are being reminded to remain vigilant and:
- Remind staff to be vigilant when travelling to and from work and when socialising
- Report immediately anything they believe is suspicious to the relevant authority e.g. police or station staff
- Remind staff not to leave personal possessions unattended any time either at work or when travelling, as this can cause unnecessary security alerts
- Encourage staff at work to immediately report anything they believe is suspicious to their manager
- Encourage staff to maintain a visible presence in the workplace and challenge unusual behaviour and unknown visitors
- If there is an IMMEDIATE threat to safety call 999. If you have any information about possible terrorist activity, call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321.
|If you suspect it, report it||Anti Terrorist Hotline 0800 789321|
Alternatively, a confidential on-line form can be submitted (This service is managed by the Metropolitan Police). If you believe there is an immediate threat because of a suspicious vehicle or package call 999.
Business should also immediately review a number of key areas. These include:
- Checking security policies and procedures are in place and that people are aware and comply with them
- Check CCTV systems are working correctly and that images are properly saved and stored
- Checking contact details of all staff up to date
- Ensuring any people working or visiting your building aware of emergency drills
- Checking contingency and business continuity plans are up to date and tested, refer to www.thebci.org for advice
- Control access to workplaces and challenge anyone who may not be authorised to be there
- Ensure procedures for communicating with staff within your building are in place and consider staff that might be travelling to or from work.
Advice on suspicious postal packages
Delivered items, which include letters, parcels, packages and anything delivered by post or courier, have been a commonly used terrorist device. A properly conducted risk assessment should give you a good idea of the likely threat to your organisation and indicate precautions you need to take.
Delivered items may be explosive or incendiary (the two most likely kinds), or conceivably chemical, biological or radiological. Anyone receiving a suspicious delivery is unlikely to know which type it is, so procedures should cater for every eventuality. A delivered item will probably have received fairly rough handling in the post and so is unlikely to detonate through being moved, but any attempt at opening it may set it off. Unless delivered by courier, it is unlikely to contain a timing device. Delivered items come in a variety of shapes and sizes; a well-made one will look innocuous but there may be tell-tale signs.
Indicators of a suspicious delivered item:
- it is unexpected or of unusual origin or from an unfamiliar sender
- there is no return address or the address cannot be verified
- it is poorly or inaccurately addressed, e.g. incorrect title, spelt wrongly, title but no name or addressed to an individual no longer with the company the address has been printed unevenly or in an unusual way the writing is in an unfamiliar or unusual style
- there are unusual postmarks or postage paid marks
- a Jiffy bag, or similar padded envelope, has been used
- it seems unusually heavy for its size. Most letters weigh up to about 30g, whereas most effective letter bombs weigh 50–100g and are 5mm or more thick
- it has more than the appropriate value of stamps for its size and weight
- it is marked ‘personal’ or ‘confidential’
- it is oddly shaped or lopsided
- the envelope flap is stuck down completely (a normal letter usually has an ungummed gap of 35mm at the corners)
- there is a pin-sized hole in the envelope or package wrapping
- there is any unusual smell, including but not restricted to almonds, ammonia or marzipan
- it has greasy or oily stains on the envelope
- there is an additional inner envelope and it is tightly taped or tied (however, in some organisations sensitive material is sent in double envelopes as standard procedure).
What you can do
Although any suspect item should be treated seriously, remember that the great majority will be false alarms and a few may be hoaxes. Try to ensure that your procedures, while effective, are not needlessly disruptive. Take the following into account in your planning:
- seek advice from your local police CTSA on the threat and on defensive measures
- consider processing all incoming post and deliveries at one point only. This should ideally be off-site or in a separate building, or at least in an area that can easily be isolated and in which deliveries can be handled without taking them through other parts of the building
- make sure that all staff who handle post are briefed and trained. Include reception staff.
- Encourage regular correspondents to put their return address on each item
- ensure that all sources of incoming post (e.g. Royal Mail, couriers, hand delivery) are included in your screening process
- ideally, post rooms should have independent air conditioning and alarm systems, as well as scanners and x-ray machines. However, while post scanners may detect devices for spreading chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) materials (e.g. explosive devices), they will not detect the CBR materials themselves. A range of commercial CBR detection technology is available. In the first instance, seek advice from your local police force Counter Terrorism Security Adviser. Post rooms should also have their own washing and shower facilities, including soap and detergent
- staff need to be aware of the usual pattern of deliveries and to be briefed of unusual deliveries. Train them to open post with letter openers (and with minimum movement), to keep hands away from noses and mouths and always to wash their hands afterwards. Staff should not blow into envelopes or shake them. Packages suspected of containing CBR material should ideally be placed in a double-sealed bag
- consider whether staff handling post need protective equipment such as latex gloves and face masks (seek advice from a qualified health and safety expert). Keep overalls and footwear available in case staff need to remove contaminated clothing
- make certain that post opening areas can be promptly evacuated. Rehearse evacuation procedures and route, which should include washing facilities in which contaminated staff could be isolated and treated
- prepare signs for display to staff in the event of a suspected or actual attack.
Reproduced by kind permission of The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)