My view - blue light update

Monday 11 January 2021

The National Risk Register (NRR) has just been launched. It is a useful document providing a government assessment of the likelihood and potential impacts of a broad range of malicious and non-malicious national security risks that may affect the UK and its interests over the next two years.

These security risks include: environmental and natural hazards, industrial accidents, malicious attacks (such as those in public places) transport, infrastructure and cyber, and societal risks, including widespread public disorder.

High impact

The NRR cites the highest impact risk over the next two years as a large-scale chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attack or pandemic, the next highest risks include: widespread electricity failure, river flooding, coastal flooding and nuclear industrial accidents.

Highest likelihood

The highest likelihood risk over the next two years is attacks on publicly accessible locations. There has been an increase in the frequency of terrorist attacks in the UK from 2017 and nearly all of these have occurred in publicly accessible locations that people visit, congregate in, or transit through.

A feature of such attacks is the targeting of harm to people. This may be random, or aimed at specific groups, for example relating to race or religious beliefs.

The Government recognises that since 2017, the NRR has been challenged by several serious incidents and situations. These include the pandemic and terrorist attacks in London, as well as use of a chemical weapon (Novichok) in Salisbury, serious flooding and the severe snowfall (the Beast from the East during February/March 2018).

The NRR assessment

The NRR assessment is based on a continuous cycle of:

  • Learning lessons from events
  • Changes in the underpinning scientific or technical evidence and intelligence
  • Improvements to the calculation of the likelihood and potential impacts (the consequences) of risks.

New summaries are included for:

  • Serious and organised crime (SOCs)
  • Disinformation
  • Hostile state activity.

Information is given on how the Government at national level, devolved administrations, local responders and other partners will manage and mitigate these emergencies. It is aimed at local emergency planners, resilience professionals and organisations to help make decisions about risks to plan for and the consequences that may arise.

There is also advice and guidance for the public on what to do to prepare for such events. According to the Government, the public’s important role has been highlighted by the actions in preparing and responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

As we continue to live through this pandemic, while awaiting the rollout of vaccines, we must not lose sight of other risks and challenges to tackle.

ALARM Blue Light Group

Penelope Page from Hampshire Constabulary, Chair of the Blue light Committee, and Vice Chair Laura Gribbins from Kent Police did an excellent job in 2020. They have led the Blue light Group and planned events with the Committee, including popular lunchtime meetings via Teams to continue facilitating networking and best practice sharing.

In 2020 the Group delivered sessions on:

  • Risk visualisation
  • Horizon scanning
  • COVID-19 and business continuity management
  • Risk appetite
  • Risk frameworks
  • Insurance, including COVID-19 claims, Data Protection Act claims, crypto-currency, electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles and scooters, agile working key issues, and a legal update.

Members can access output here.

A webinar on Management of Risk in Law Enforcement (MoRiLE) was launched online (in November) for all Blue Light Group members by Kate Hemstock at Derbyshire Constabulary. It provides an overview of work undertaken by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and police forces to develop a MoRiLE model to support the production of Force Management Statements. The webinar is also suitable for non-blue light organisations who want to develop a business health check.

Don’t miss the next two lunchtime sessions from 12:30-13:30 on Teams. Details have been added to your calendars:

  • Personal resilience – Thursday 21 January 2021
  • Risk culture – Thursday 25 February 2021

Two full day events are also planned for spring and winter:

  • Spring seminar (online due to COVID-19 restrictions) – Thursday 18 March 2021
  • Winter Event in Birmingham - Thursday 18 November 2021

Anyone is welcome to attend our meetings as many topics are pan-sector and common to all risk management practice. We would love to show you we are about. Do let us know any blue light topics you would like us to focus on.

If anyone is interesting in joining the Committee, please feel free to contact me or one of the Committee members.

Beverley Nichol-Culff, ALARM Board Director

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