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Incident Response & Command & Control

Effective Command and Control is critical to mitigating the impact of terrorist incidents.

Last Updated 27 February 2023


Effective command and control is critical to mitigating the impact of terrorist incidents. 

Information on this page is intended to enhance the capability of Security Control Room (SCR) operators to respond to the immediate impact of an incident.

An incident may require a crisis management response without the need for a business continuity plan activation.

This may be, for example, in the event of major negative media attention about the business. In contrast there may be a "creeping/rising tide" crisis where a disruption such an attack on an IT system emerges and, if not managed effectively, turns into a crisis.

The incident response arrangements must therefore be flexible enough to manage both an operational disruption which may need to be escalated, and a crisis situation which requires strategic leadership.


Effective Command and Control (in simple terms, effective management of all necessary resources to achieve a particular goal) is essential. Every second counts during an attack and every second that passes is an opportunity to keep the threat as far away from people as possible, assist those who need urgent help and assist the emergency services.

Security CCTV operator monitoring 4 screens

Sites are unlikely to provide an effective response to a terrorist incident unless: 

  • Security Control Rooms are provided with the appropriate equipment, policies and procedures
  • Operators are given the necessary training and time to practice and exercise the response.

NPSA's research has shown that SCR operators are often unclear on what tasks need to be completed and whose responsibility each task is, resulting in duplication of effort and essential tasks.

To assist an organisation produce response plans that are fit for purpose and can be implemented by SCR staff, you should have an understand of the following:

  • The key features of a terrorist attack
  • The crucial role of the SCR in responding to a terrorist attack
  • The tasks to be completed
  • The importance of prioritising the tasks undertaken by SCR operators
  • The importance of communication within the SCR
  • The need for effective training and ongoing rehearsal of the key tasks
  • The detailed actions required to complete each of the priority tasks which can be found in NPSA Marauding Terrorist Attack guidance.

Responding to Terrorist Incidents - Developing Effective Command and Control guidance provides information on how to prepare those working in an SCR for dealing with a terrorist incident. It is focused on the period where an attack has been discovered and the immediate aftermath of the attack (i.e. Incident Response and Incident Management).

First Aid - The role of Security Control Rooms during a terrorist attack Supplementary Guidance provides information on how the delivery of effective command and control during a terrorist attack can save lives through the identification and treatment of those with life threatening injuries.  It is intended for general Security Control Rooms (SCR) who do not have a trained medical professionals located in the SCR who can co-ordinate the first aid response before the arrival of emergency services. 

Responding to Terrorist Incidents - Security Control Room (SCR) Operators course is specifically designed for operators who work in security control rooms within national infrastructure sites and crowded places. It is also valuable for those directly responsible for the SCR operators.

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