A report by the new Counter Terrorism Preparedness Network on community preparedness provides a range of key actions for cities and communities.

Key Points:

  • Recommendation 1.
    • Cities should consider approaches to benchmarking community preparedness activities and good practice, and as such develop methods for measuring the success of such initiatives.
  • Recommendation 2.
    • Cities to consider convening a Community Resilience Steering Group, or a local equivalent, at a city-policy level to co-ordinate, develop, deliver and monitor community-preparedness programmes. This group should be responsible for identifying and mapping local community assets to channel existing strengths for preparedness activities.
  • Recommendation 3.
    • Cities to deliver public-awareness campaigns to inform and prepare communities in counter terrorism. This should include the utilisation of social media and apps as a way to bolster the timely information exchange of correct messaging before, during and after an incident.
  • Recommendation 4.
    • Cities to identify, develop and strengthen partnerships among the public, private and third sectors, involving a wide representation of organisations in preparedness activities.
  • Recommendation 5.
    • Cities to consider the introduction of public first aid training programmes and volunteering schemes, including the introduction of mandatory, or opt-in first aid training within primary and secondary education.
      • This should be done through collaboration with third-sector organisations; schemes and training should take place regularly at different locations.
      • This training could also include a sub-section on psychological support of distress in response to terrorist attacks.
  • Recommendation 6.
    • Cities to consider creating co-ordinated online Preparedness Hubs, where communities can come together to access information and resources, as well as be co-ordinated for volunteering.
      • Individuals can sign up for alerts, access training and find information regarding local assets and resources.
      • Cities may also facilitate the connection of existing community hubs to create a wide network of shared resources.
  • Concluding ACTION remarks.
    • Information sharing is key in order to have an equipped and prepared community. This requires openness in communications and dialogue relating to the terrorist threat.
    • The public should be as much of a stakeholder as public bodies and private and third-sector partners.
    • No single medium of information will reach all people and consistent messaging through multiple channels will reach a wider audience.
    • A city-wide community preparedness hub could serve as a way to bring people together and address the complexities of not just terrorismĀ but also the many risks facing cities today.