Anti-terror advice given to bars (Excerpt)
Source: The Spirits Business
by Melita Kiely
21st January, 2016
After Parisian bars and restaurants were targeted by a devastating act of terror, we investigate what the on-trade can do to minimise risk.
Humanity was rocked by the shattering events that took place in Paris on the evening of Friday 13 November 2015. The world united in grief and outrage at how this vibrant city could be targeted in such a callous and cowardly manner – actions claimed by the terrorist group ISIL.
Bars, restaurants and the Bataclan theatre were central in the attack, which wiped out 130 innocent lives – an unfathomable reality that has since caused caution to ripple throughout the global on-trade.
Public nervousness in light of the tragedy impacted sales in London bars and restaurants in November, according to Coffer Peach Business Tracker. The city saw like-for-like sales slow by 1.5%, with chain restaurants bearing the biggest brunt through a decline of 2.6% compared to the same period in 2013. Across the rest of the UK, the on-trade collectively delivered a slight sales increase of 0.3% throughout the month.
“When you consider that October had seen a 2.5% jump in like-for-like sales nationally, with London up 3.5%, you can see the scale of this November fall-back,” commented Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker in partnership with Coffer Group. “The public’s nervousness is understandable and it seems London has been affected both by a drop-off in tourist business and Londoners not staying out as long after work. Operators are reporting both reduced sales and cancellations of bookings, in restaurants and late night venues.”
Risk of UK attack
In the wake of the atrocity, the Metropolitan Police advised pubs, clubs and bars to be vigilant and review their security plans due to the “severe” risk of a terror attack in the UK. A document from Cross-sector Safety and Security Communications (CSSC) highlighted the “threat level to the UK from international terrorism remains at ‘severe’, which means an attack is highly likely”, but stressed the UK has been at this level since 2014 and people should remain “alert but not alarmed”.
“The police service is now working tirelessly to confront the terrorist threat we all face,” commented Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner, special operations. “Be vigilant and you could be the person who spots something odd or unusual and prevents an attack.”
Helping on-trade establishments to be alert to terrorist threats, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) has provided a detailed document with advice. The guide has been designed to provide protective security suggestions to owners, operators, managers and staff employees working in bars, restaurants and clubs in an effort to “reduce the risk” of a terrorist attack and enable damage limitation.
“Crowded places, including bars, pubs and nightclubs, may feature in the attack plans of terrorist organisations in the future; as they are usually locations with limited protective security measures and therefore afford the potential for mass fatalities and casualties,” the document states. “There is a long history of such attacks and there have been recent attacks on bars and nightclubs in other countries around the world. It is possible that your premises could be involved in a terrorist incident. This might include having to deal with a bomb threat or with suspect items left in or around your premises or sent through the post. In the worst case scenario your staff and customers could be killed or injured, and your premises destroyed or damaged in a ‘no warning’, multiple and coordinated terrorist attack.”
Click through to the following page to see what other practical advice NaCTSO has provided bars and restaurants