Counter Terrorism Police take safety advice into UK classrooms for the first time

Northern Constabulary Force Helicopter 1998 - by Dave Conner via Flickr
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Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) are taking their groundbreaking communications campaign for young people into the classroom – the first time terrorism safety advice has ever been available to teach in UK schools.

Security experts from CTP have commissioned the creation of an animated film designed to teach young people aged 11 to 16 years old how to react if caught up in a gun or knife terror attack.

Whilst attacks are rare, tragic events in London and Manchester remind us that attacks can occur at any time or place without warning. To ensure young people are equipped with the correct knowledge they will be taught to RUN if they are able to, HIDE if they are not, and TELL police of the threat only when it is safe to do so. They will also be told NOT to stop and use their phones until they are safely away from danger.

The new animated film will be the cornerstone of two specially-designed PSHE lesson plans, one for Key Stage Three and one for Key Stage Four pupils, which have been made available to education practitioners and youth organisations today, Tuesday 14 November 2017. These lessons, along with teacher guidance, have been created by the PSHE Association, the national body for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

The video and all necessary teaching materials are available to download via the NPCC website, here.

“We knew we needed to educate a younger audience and we knew that, if done correctly, this could be a campaign which will continue to keep people safe for decades to come,” said the UK’s Lead for Protective Security, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi.

“We created this education piece with that aim in mind, to produce a generation of young people who not only would know exactly what to do in the unlikely event they were ever caught in gun or knife attack, but would pass that information on to others.”

The film, entitled ‘Run, Hide, Tell – The story of Nur, Edih and Llet’ is a mix of live action and graphic novel style animation, and follows the story of three young people who find themselves caught up in an attack on a shopping centre.

As well as the tried and tested ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ advice, the lessons include other important safety and preparedness information, such as how to spot suspicious activity and behaviour. 

There is also a session plan specifically designed for use in youth organisations such as the Scouts and Girlguiding UK, to support them to deliver the ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ message.

Meanwhile, an additional lesson, available to both schools and youth organisations will also teach children to TREAT – an additional element designed by medical experts from St John Ambulance to inform young people how to deliver basic first aid to injured people while hiding.

“These lessons will go way beyond the basic messaging we have delivered through previous public-facing campaigns,” said Lucy D’Orsi.

“Teachers will be able to pause this video at specific points to discuss elements of the safety advice with their pupils, giving young people the chance to discuss more complex topics – such as what constitutes suspicious behaviour – at greater length and in a safe school or youth group environment.”

“We appreciate that parents and teachers might have concerns about speaking to young people about such topics, but that is exactly why we have worked closely with the PSHE Association to deliver messaging which is age-appropriate, engaging and could save lives.

“The NSPCC also provides excellent advice for parents who wish to speak to their children in a constructive way about difficult topics such as terrorism.

The NSPCC advice can be found here.

An NSPCC spokesman said: “It’s vital that young people know what to do in a terrorist attack, but we realise that they may have questions or anxieties when the issue of terrorism comes up.

“Having these conversations with a child can be tricky for adults, but the NSPCC’s Helpline is here to help. Our practitioners will guide an adult on what to say, how to say it and, most importantly, help a child feel reassured and safe.”

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