Creating The Terrorism Management Programme

by Ian Featherstone

The creation or rather integration of the terrorism management programme into the wider security management programme is one that should be completed to interconnect with the security plan. The threat remains real, and steps taken to ensure that your security programme is robust, tested and imbedded within the organisation as a whole is a must.

What we are trying to create is a safe environment, in which those who are invited into our territory can do so with relative ease, we need to ensure that those who aren’t welcome to come into our controlled space are kept out and not able to spend time looking for weakness or perceived weakness in security protocols.

We have to look at the layers of security, think of it like an onion with many layers. Whilst we may not be able to extend the physical boundary we can extend the boundary in terms of well placed CCTV manned in a control room, external patrols of the premises ensuring that the patrolling staff interact with people that they come into contact with. The power of hello!

One of the great powers that we have as a person is the ability to say hello. In the most part this will be seen as a positive interaction to legitimate visitors to a building, venue or premisses, but to someone conducting hostile reconnaissance this will be seen as a layer of the security protocol in place, and they wont want to be challenged. Asking some basic questions and measuring response will soon give an indication if this is normal behaviour, or something more sinister. Security or safety staff who work regularly in the same place will know what is normal, in effect they will know the base line or what is normal for the surrounding area In essence being left of bang. If something isn’t normal, they need to know that they can escalate and report their concerns and have them taken seriously and not dismissed out of hand. For some organisations this will be a huge cultural shift in behaviour, as working on gut feeling for some will be seen as out of the normal cycle of behaviours.

The next layers should be more physical, and form part of the security management plan. All of the plans should be shared and consulted with the local CTSA and ensure their buy in and integration with any plans for the local area. Consulting with local emergency services is not only good practice, it also ensures a coherent approach in the event of an incident occurring.

The next layer, or focus should be placed on all staff and occupants of the building or venue. And this comes down to housekeeping. This has to be led from the top of the organisation and is as simple as everyone taking responsibility for their area’s and public access areas. Good housekeeping is not only about keeping areas tidy, but it also shows that people within the building or venue, care and also look for things that are out of place and deal with them. This simple yet effective method to get people looking will support a positive culture of seeing what is out of place, what isn’t right. The next phase of integrating this plan is the ensure that the things identified as not normal are reported, and these reports are actioned. I have worked in many organisations, and have always actively encouraged people to report the unusual, the out of place, the things that aren’t right. It is important to never criticise the number of spurious incidents you deal with as this just has a negative affect on the reporting. This culture of reporting the out of normal will tale time to embed into the organisation, but in the long term these people are your eyes and ears on the ground.

Now, any plan is only as good as the people who enact the plan. It is imperative that plans are tested and rehearsed. In any organisation fire practice / drills and evacuations are conducted regularly, in the same way any counter terrorism measures within the plan, also need to be practiced and rehearsed. Such practices should involve the process of in-vacuation of a premises as well as evacuation. Ensure that there is a robust lockdown process and flow chart in place that is simple and easy to follow, and that the organisation has embraced this and practices. Don’t simply think about one evac point, but have a secondary and potentially third muster point so that in the event of an IED threat people evac to a secondary location in case of a secondary device being placed in the primary muster point.

Depending on the size and or complexity of the organisation, such exercises and drills could be conducted jointly with the emergency services so that you both have a strong understanding of each others protocols and actions in the event of a situation arising.

What we are trying to create is a culture, we need everyone to buy into the culture and at all times operate left of bang!


  • CTSA Counter Terrorism Policing
  • Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life Book by Jason A. Riley and Patrick Van Horne