3 Sources of Official UK Counter Terrorism Guidance


I’m taking a break from the last couple of posts on security design standards for buildings. After the terrorist attack on Manchester Arena on 22nd May, it seemed more helpful to hand out some resources for property developers, owners, occupiers and architects to give an easy reference to official some guidance on what can be done.

If you want to get straight to the relevant government counter terrorism guidance for crowded places, go here: http://toren.co.uk/protef20d.

I’m not going to offer much in the way of opinion in this post; I'll just try to provide some useful resources to those who might need them, and a bit of context on the publishers.

If you want to ensure that your building or development project is designed to mitigate similar risks, or you’re looking to make sure that your security team is set up to deter, detect and manage incidents, I suggest that you take a look through the sources of information and advice below. If you’re a building tenant or operator, you might consider having someone sign up for news and post-incident guidance from the most relevant sources.

If you need to discuss with someone in more detail I’ve included a list of police Counter Terrorism Security Advisors, or you can contact a specialist security consultant. In my experience its not a bad idea to do both.

What are the sources of counter terrorism guidance?


NaCTSO is the National Counter Terrorism Security Office. They’re a police team that works closely with other government departments, towards the objectives of the PROTECT and PREPARE strands of the UK Government CT strategy. Read more about them at http://toren.co.uk/aboutce46. (Unusually for a public facing police team, NaCTSO doesn’t appear to have a Twitter account)

NaCTSO has published a range of sector-specific guidance for some years, and was quick to respond with specific guidance after the Manchester attack (including a good round-up of their relevant resources) at http://toren.co.uk/manchdbfb.


The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure is a public facing team in the Security Service (MI5). Their website is at http://toren.co.uk/centr48ef.

Like NaCTSO, CPNI also put out a specific guidance note after Manchester which references some of their existing guidance (and links to NaCTSO). The note starts with guidance on identifying hostile reconnaissance in the planning phase of a terrorist attack, and runs through event operations and ways to minimise casualties in the event of an incident.

CPNI Guidance Note: Attack on Manchester Arena can be found at http://toren.co.uk/420f.

Local Police Counter Terrorism Security Advisors

You can find the contact email for your local police CTSA at http://toren.co.uk/worki3998.

Special Interest Groups

There are several geographic and thematic groups who both host relevant information resources and put out news and advice following an incident.

Much of the post-incident news and guidance published by these groups is initially coordinated by Cross-sector Safety and Security Communications (CSSC). “Operating under charitable status, CSSC aims to help businesses remain safe and secure by providing information that will assist them to develop robust resilience and emergency preparedness plans. This is achieved by delivering accurate, timely and authoritative messaging and information on an ongoing basis and in times of major incidents with far-reaching impact.” You can find more about the group at http://toren.co.uk/csscwe50e.

London First, Security and Resilience Network - http://toren.co.uk/secur476d

TinyG - http://toren.co.uk/about1a71

ASIS UK - http://toren.co.uk/asisua92a

The Security Institute - http://toren.co.uk/secins


There are other information sources out there. Consultants will offer expert opinions, and manufacturers will provide details of relevant products. The quality of advice from both varies tremendously, especially in the immediate aftermath of a significant terrorist incident. If you're concerned and need immediate support, my advice is to go straight to the source and let the consultants and manufacturers help with the implementation if required.