A pioneering new training course for Security Control Room operators has been launched by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI).
As the national technical authority for physical and personnel protective security, the course and associated guidance produced by CPNI enables businesses and organisations to plan, prepare and respond to terrorist incidents, increasing the capabilities of security control room operators and other security personnel.
Uniquely based around research undertaken since 2017, the course offers world-first immersive exercises that simulate multiple terrorist incident scenarios, enabling delegates to practice decision-making in real-time, as if they were in a real control room.
The course is informed by the recently updated guidance, developed through detailed analysis of previous terrorist incidents, extensive research that has included live simulations of attacks (as part of CPNI’s ASCEND trials) and surveys of existing Command and Control capabilities.
Through five years of research, we have found that most casualties in a terrorist incident occur within the first few minutes.
In the initial period before emergency services have arrived on scene, the security control room is the front line of defence, leading and organising the initial response to the terrorist incident.
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.
Effective command and control is critical to mitigating the impact of terrorist incidents.
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.
However, CPNI’s research has shown that UK businesses and organisations are not sufficiently prepared for terrorist incidents.
Security Control Room 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.
Terrorist attacks are perhaps the most challenging types of incidents an organisation will ever face. Fortunately, they are also rare, and most people will never encounter one.
Training and rehearsal are often the only ways for SCR operators to gain and practise the necessary skills.
The 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.
Over 120 delegates have attended pilot courses in 2022, including operators from transport, retail, sports stadiums and arenas, major events, office buildings, government buildings and other Publicly Accessible Locations across the country.
Their feedback confirmed the need for the course and particularly the value of the fully immersive exercises in making operators more knowledgeable, more confident, and more experienced in acting appropriately, fast and effectively.
A CPNI spokesman said: “Our goal is to make Security Control Room operators across the country feel as ready as possible to respond to a terrorist incident, as this is crucial to ensuring the safety of the British public.
“Understanding responsibilities, and a quick response can only be achieved by being well prepared.
“Existing training courses tend to consist of ‘tabletop exercises’, but our new course is the first to be informed by comprehensive research and offers delegates realistic immersive exercises to give them practical, hands-on experience of operating under the pressure of simulated terrorist incidents.
“We have received fantastic feedback from recent attendees and look forward to working with many more security control operators over the coming months and years to enact our belief that acting fast saves lives.”
The five-day course only hosts a small number of delegates at a time (maximum 24) to enable them to get the most out of the experience as they are supported by expert trainers.
Spaces are available from January 2023 onwards at locations across the country.