Hartlepool businesses urged to learn how to deal with terror attacks

Middleton Grange shopping centre in Hartlepool.
Middleton Grange shopping centre in Hartlepool.

The boss of Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange shopping centre is urging businesses to sign up for new training on how to deal with terrorists.

Under plans unveiled yesterday, a million staff who work in crowded places could be trained in how to deal with terror attacks.

Middleton Grange shopping centre boss Mark Rycraft.

Middleton Grange shopping centre boss Mark Rycraft.

Police want companies operating the likes of shopping centres and sports and entertainment venues to teach their staff how to react in the case of an atrocity.

The move, unveiled today by Detective Chief Superintendent Scott Wilson at the Security and Counter Terrorism Expo, builds on an existing scheme – Project Griffin – in which officers brief around 100,000 workers per year and will instead see companies’ existing trainers teaching colleagues.

Det Ch Supt Wilson said: “We need everyone to play a part in keeping the public alert, not alarmed.

“Police can help explain what the threats and risks to different sectors are, but companies are better placed to explain to staff exactly what action they can take to enhance their security and how to respond if the worst happens.

“Individual organisations have vital protective security information such as building layouts, security equipment and safety procedures. They have the local knowledge that could be vital to keeping staff and the public safe.”

Middleton Grange manager Mark Rycraft said the centre was involved with both Project Griffin and the complementary Project Argus to train staff.

“We deliver training through the central counter terrorism department and we cover Project Griffin at least once a year,” he said.

“I would absolutely urge other businesses to get involved - it is free and the trainers are extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter.

“This is something that needs to be delivered by local businesses large and small.”

The Association of British Travel Agents is among businesses that have signed up to the project.

The move comes in the wake of the atrocities in Paris and Belgium, which saw attacks on “soft” targets with less security.

The initiative will target sectors including retail, hospitality, entertainment and travel, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said.

Police have called on businesses that are interested in taking part to get in touch.

They must be public limited companies and have a team of qualified trainers. Those in busy areas will be prioritised.