Operators have a key role in helping to prevent future terrorist atrocities

Counter terrorism training is such an important part of the battle to prevent any future atrocities such as 9/11, that it should become an integral part of the Driver CPC, according to a senior Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officer.

Speaking at the inaugural North West CPT Coaching Conference held at Ribby Hall on14 October, Counter Terrorism Security Advisor Richard Preston said he would be happy to help any operator who wanted to develop a DCPC module. His offer followed a detailed explanation of how GMP’s Counter Terrorism Branch had identified the coach and bus sector as one that it needed to engage with because of its potential significance in any future terrorist attack.

As a first move, a pilot briefing session held at Stagecoach Manchester’s Sharston depot this week will explain the nature of the terrorist threat and how the industry can help.

This will be followed by the roll-out of an industry-specific training tool kit devised to prepare operators for their role in counter terrorism. It will stimulate awareness of the need to report suspicious activities, prevent vehicle thefts and spot forged documentation among job applicants.

As part of its strategy to ‘pursue, protect, prepare and prevent’, GMP is so far the only force to have devised a raft of initiatives designed to help operators. These include the offer of site surveys to assess areas of risk.

Mr Preston explained that the government’s national counter terrorism strategy, CONTEST, identified three categories of potential terrorist targets – i.e. crowded places, hazardous sites, and infrastructure of critical national importance.

Given that transport is integral to all three categories, Mr Preston told operators at the Conference that the potential targets are “part and parcel of your world.”

He said: “If you’re scared, you should be.”