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Advice after Berlin

A lorry was driven into a crowd at a Christmas market in central Berlin on Tuesday evening, December 19, causing 12 deaths besides injuries.

The German police have issued a contact number +49 30 540 23 111 for people concerned, or +49 30 540 24 111 for people who may have relevant information. For Foreign Office advice on travel to Germany, visit the FCO website.

UK police meanwhile called on the public to remain vigilant. National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for protective security, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi says: “The UK threat level remains unchanged at Severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.

“Our activities and intelligence are continually reviewed in response to a range of risks and threats, including those seen in Berlin and other places around the world in recent weeks.

“Following incidents like the dreadful attacks in Germany last night, forces across the UK, as is routine, review and assess security measures at public events and other places.

“I would like to reassure everyone that the police, along with the security and intelligence services, are tirelessly working together to deal with the terrorist threat to keep the public safe.

“We urge the public to remain alert and not alarmed. We advise everyone to be vigilant and to report any concerns to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always dial 999.”

As for similar markets in the UK, West Midlands Police said of the one in Birmingham city centre that police have worked alongside Birmingham City Council to plan this year’s annual Frankfurt Christmas Market. Security measures (such as anti-ram bollards) were agreed before the market opened, and were not a result of any new or specific intelligence relating to Birmingham.

Comment

Rob Walker, Travel Risk Consultant from the medical and security emergency contractor International SOS and Control Risks says: “while it’s important to be vigilant about the kinds events we’ve seen in France and Germany, you need to keep it in proportion. In a crowded place during Christmas festivities, you are far more likely to be affected by the loss or theft of money, phone or other important possessions than you are by terrorism. Keep a close eye on your personal possessions at all times.”

The company has issued the following ten points of advice to consider when in crowded places:

1. Be vigilant but not alarmed.
2. Know where the exits are in case you have to react to what is a very unlikely event.
3. Have a charged mobile phone with you, so you are able to get access to information about disruption or any on-going incidents, as well as call for help, if necessary.
4. Follow advice from local authorities, and have confidence in our police, intelligence and security agencies to prevent/disrupt, or warn us appropriately.
5. If anything happens, immediately depart the scene by a direct route in the opposite direction of any threat.
6. Find a safe location and, once there, move only if you need to find a more secure location. Safe places may include locations such as hotels an banks, with a higher level of protection and away from the incident; people may need to stay there for some time while the situation becomes clear.
7. Immediately attempt to communicate. Remember mobile communications networks might be unworkable, either as the volume of traffic increases, or as emergency responders reserve the network for their own purposes: landline services are an alternative.
8. In the immediate aftermath, make reasonable attempts to account for other members of your party. If you are in a group, stay together.
9. If necessary, seek medical assistance immediately. Find out where any injured people will be taken and accompany injured friends/relatives to hospital.
10. Don’t let it ruin your Christmas or event.


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