National Counter Terrorism Security Office Issues Advice On Responding To Paris-Style Terror Attack

National Counter Terrorism Security Office

Britain’s National Counter Terrorism Security Office has set out advice on how to respond to a Paris-style attack on British soil, advising bystanders to run and hide rather than play dead.

In as sign that the government is taking the threat of a terrorist attack in Britain similar to that seen in Paris last week, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office has issued guidance on “Recognising the terrorist threat”. Published on the government’s website, the advice boils down to three headings – RUN, HIDE and TELL. It states:

“Firearms and Weapons attacks are rare in the UK. The ‘STAY SAFE’ principles tell you some simple actions to consider at an incident and the information that armed officers may need in the event of a weapons or firearm attack.”

Breaking down the advice to the three headings, the guidance advises:


  • Escape if you can
  • Consider the safest options
  • Is there a safe route? Run, if not hide
  • Can you get there without exposing yourself to greater danger?
  • Insist others leave with you
  • Leave belongings behind


  • If you can’t run, hide
  • Find cover from gunfire
  • If you can see the attacker, they may be able to see you
  • Cover from view does not mean you are safe, bullets go through glass, brick, wood and metal
  • Find cover from gunfire e.g. substantial brickwork / heavy reinforced walls
  • Be aware of your exits
  • Try not to get trapped
  • Be quiet, silence your phone
  • Lock / barricade yourself in
  • Move away from the door


Call 999 – What do the police need to know?

  • Location – Where are the suspects?
  • Direction – Where did you last see the suspects?
  • Descriptions – Describe the attacker, numbers, features, clothing, weapons etc
  • Further information – Casualties, type of injury, building information, entrances, exits,hostages etc
  • Stop other people entering the building if it is safe to do so

Chillingly it appears the government had already timetabled the publication of a version of the advice in advance of the Islamic State attacks in Paris last week. The BBC reports that it was published yesterday prematurely rather than, as intended, next week during a security awareness campaign which had planned before the Jihadi actions in France.

The advice was in fact aimed at businesses and the security industry in general, with sources saying it was not a response to a specific threat.

The National Counter Terrorism Security Office is part of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the national co-ordinating body for British police chiefs, and the mistake does not appear to have been either the government’s or that of Home Office officials.

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