DYNAMIQ IN THE NEWS: PROTECTING CROWDED PLACES FROM TERRORISM - A NEW NATIONAL STRATEGY

Dynamiq Crisis, Emergency and Security Consultant, Philip Kent Hughes 

The Australian Government has announced a new national strategy to improve protection from terrorist attacks.

The strategy covers the use of basic weapons such as vehicles, knives and firearms, as well as improvised explosive devices or chemical attacks.

It explains that venue operators have a duty of care to take steps to protect people at their site from a range of foreseeable threats, including terrorism.

Owners / operators of venues should:

1. Undertake a risk assessment and/or vulnerability analysis of their site

2. Implement the appropriate mitigations

3. Monitor them for effectiveness (including through audits)

4. Review them at appropriate junctures.

The strategy warns that personal liability can be attached to some of these obligations if breached. It also highlighted the need for, “developing, implementing, and regularly testing a comprehensive security plan.” It was noted that new measures should be appropriate and proportional to the threat each site faces.

Useful resources

Materials provided by the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC), to assist venue operators include:

  • Crowded Places Self-Assessment Tool
  • Crowded Places Security Audit
  • Hostile Vehicle Mitigation Guidelines
  • Chemical Weapon Guidelines
  • Active Armed Offender Guidelines
  • Improvised Explosive Device Guidelines.

 

These documents can be downloaded from the National Security website.

What is a crowded place?

Crowded places include sports stadiums, transport hubs, shopping centres, outdoor pedestrian malls, pubs, clubs, hotels, places of worship, tourist attractions, movie theatres, and civic spaces. It also includes sporting events, festivals and one-off events.

While the new strategy is mainly directed at preparing for acts of terrorism, there are many organisations which face threats of violence from disgruntled clients. These include areas such as insurance, workers compensation, law courts and the compliance areas of local government. Vendors of high-value items such as jewellery are also under threat of ram-raids and armed hold-ups. In some respects, these organisations would benefit from preparing in a similar way to crowded places.

Background

The new strategy was commissioned by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the attack last year in Nice, in which 86 people were killed after a truck was driven through crowds during Bastille Day celebrations.

Currently, Australia’s National Terrorism Threat Level remains at PROBABLE. This reflects the advice of the ASIO that individuals and groups continue to possess the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia.

More information

For advice on implementing security improvements inside your organisation, contact Philip Kent Hughes on +61 3 8340 5219 or at philip.kenthughes@dynamiq.com.au

Useful links

State and Territory police contacts

The National Terrorism Threat Advisory System.

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