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NaCTSO ACT app for protection from terrorism

As we all try and get to grips with the new lockdown rules across different parts of the country, many businesses will be forgiven for wondering what their new ‘normal’ looks like. Navigating this pandemic-stricken world means changes for organisations large and small, as we grapple with socially-distanced office spaces, new HR policies and PPE supplies, writes Counter Terrorism Policing.

In the security industry, too, there is a new responsibility to try and protect colleagues and customers against an unseen threat – a disease none of us had even heard of 12 months ago. Here at Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) we know that you are all facing many challenges ahead, but we also have the vitally important job of reminding everyone that while Covid-19 is still dominating our lives, we must do all we can to prevent another threat from reappearing – terrorism, sadly, has not gone away.

In fact, experts at CTP have expressed concerns about the impact that lockdown, increased social isolation and a reduction in referrals to the anti-radicalisation programme Prevent could have over the coming months. The Head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, recently explained his concerns about the post-lockdown CT threat.

He said: “There are people who are susceptible to the great deal of extremist material and propaganda available online, and who have had nothing but time on their hands to watch this stuff 24/7 on a device in their bedroom, and that worries me.

“I would describe the threat as temporarily suppressed during lockdown, because it was difficult to go out in public and actually do anything.
“So I am concerned that as we come out the other side of the pandemic, and the crowded places which have traditionally been the target for terrorists start to fill with people again, there is always that potential for that risk to come back.”

The tragic killing of three people in a park in Reading earlier this year is a case in point, and a horrific reminder that violent incidents can happen anywhere, and at any time.

What can you do to better protect your businesses, customers and staff from this remerging terrorist threat? There are three recommendations we encourage everyone responsible for security to consider over the coming weeks:

– Arrange for staff to take our Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Awareness online e-learning course. It is free, takes just 45 minutes to complete and could save lives. More than half a million people have already participated.
– Review our sector-specific crowded places advice documents.
Download the ACT app to your phone to be sure of getting live-time incident updates from CT Policing, and encourage your staff to do the same.

The Act App is the latest product from the experts at the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), which delivers live-time information direct from CTP and straight to your phone.

More than 70,000 users have signed up since March, giving them access to CTP’s latest protective security advice 24/7, wherever they are.
To give you an example as to why this App is so useful for security staff – as the incident in Reading began to unfold, ACT App users received an instant message direct from CT Policing and they were sent regular updates as the situation developed through the rest of the weekend.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve McGrath, who is head of information, capability, and business engagement at the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) says: “As everyone who has responsibility for security will know, in the aftermath of a major incident there is a need for clear, accurate and trustworthy information about what has happened and the wider implications for the UK – and our ACT App subscribers are some of the first people to receive that.

“Our users receive instant message updates direct from Counter Terrorism Policing’s experts, and in the aftermath of the Reading incident we saw a huge spike in ACT App users, with thousands of people located in 16 different countries using it to access the latest messaging, advice and protective security documents created by CTP.”

Powered by Urim, the ACT app is free for businesses and has been developed with industry specialists from Marks and Spencer, and Highfield eLearning. It is designed for use across all business and industry, including security.

Available from Google Play or App Store (see sign up details below), the app provides access to:

– Practical advice and guidance to help you protect your business, plus information on how to respond in the event of an attack.
– Information on CT Policing’s suite of ACT training products, plus access to the online e-Learning package.
– Suite of NaCTSO guidance videos.
– Latest reference documents and publications.
– ACT online reporting form and confidential hotline.
– Emergency response and post-incident guidance.
– Live-time news updates from UK Protect.

To ease circulation of the app to larger businesses with their own version of an App store, we are able to provide an Enterprise model where the App can be downloaded to all employees’ mobile phones with the username and password already loaded, enabling all staff to take advantage of the service.

DCI McGrath added: “With lockdown restriction easing, businesses everywhere will be getting ready to get back to work or increase their activity. We are urging them to all to put security high on their agenda as the threat has sadly not gone away. We want everyone to feel that they have a role to play in national security and making the UK a hostile place for terrorists to operate.

“For me the ACT app is a further example of how collaboration and integration between police and the private sector can enhance national security and collectively work to make all communities safer.”

How to sign up

Download the Urim app in Google Play or App Store. Then email [email protected] to request a user name and password. Note that access is for business or professional use only.


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