High Street Hospitality: Protective Security Considerations
In February 2021, the UK Government published its ‘Guidance COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ detailing a staged roadmap to easing of lockdown. This gave an opportunity for businesses and communities in towns and cities to re-open heading into Summer 2021.
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government published a press release outlining the Government’s support for businesses, hospitality and entertainment industries and previously, the easing of planning requirements for outdoor event and pavement licencing. The changes included:
- Relaxation of planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways.
- Greater flexibility for land to be used for temporary events, such as markets and motorsports.
- Planning freedoms to allow outdoor markets, marquees, pop-up car-boot sales or summer fairs without the need of a planning application.
Since then, we have seen changes in how publicly accessible locations like high streets look, feel and operate. Many of these changes will remain post- COVID-19 and will affect the security risk profile for these locations, including those relating to terrorism. The threat of terrorism continues to remain high and crowded environments are likely to have different security vulnerabilities. It is very important that such vulnerabilities are identified and managed.
NPSA and NaCTSO has produced practical guidance to help authorities and business consider the threats and develop holistic mitigation strategies to protect queues and crowds of people from Vehicle As a Weapon Attack (VAW). This guidance considers not only the physical security measures that can be adopted, but also a range of complementary, low cost, security awareness materials that can deter a hostile attacker, whilst educating people to potential threats and shape their behaviour in response to the threat.
Additional counter terrorism guidance and pavement licencing conditions which Local Authorities are strongly encouraged to considered are illustrated in this document.
But the threat we face isn’t only physical, it is important to also consider the potential threat your workforce could pose. NPSA has published guidance on the insider threat during a pandemic, guidance for line managers as the lockdown eases as well guidance for those continuing to work remotely. It is also important to ensure that you communicate your plans to reopen in a security-minded way. There is guidance available on what to consider when communicating wearing a face covering, how to promote protective security measures as part of COVID-19 safety comms and how to promote a site in a security-minded way through virtual tours. There is a library of guidance to assist you as you prepare for the ease of lockdown restrictions on the NPSA website COVID-19 page.
Additional general protective security guidance, such as countering Hostile Reconnaissance, Search and Screening, Marauding Terrorist Attack and other terrorist related threats can found be on the NaCTSO and NPSA websites.
Though the guidance focusses on temporary protective security enhancements, particularly Hostile Vehicle Mitigation, we do recommend that a number of the measures are applied for the long term, particularly for those Authorities who use this opportunity to accelerate planning for long term high streets regeneration.
Please note this guidance will be updated regularly; you are advised to hyperlink to this page, not the PDF, to ensure you view the latest guidance.