Police chiefs have launched a new educational video, the first of it’s kind in the UK, to teach children what to do in the event of a major terrorist attack.
Enlisting the help of celebrities such as Bear Grylls, English rugby player James Haskell, Olympic gold medallist Jade Jones, and footballer Jamie Vardy, the film reiterates that people should always ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ no matter who they are.
The counter-terrorism unit also said that children should not be tempted to pause to take photographs or record video footage of a terrorist incident on their smartphone.
They highlighted the most recent incident at Parsons Green, where close-range images of the partially exploded bomb were posted on social media within minutes of the event occuring.
Assistant deputy commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, the National Police Chief’s Council spokesman for protective security, said: “We are particularly concerned when we see people – young and old – using their mobiles to film scenes when they should be moving away from the danger. The recent incident in Parsons Green is a good example of this.
“Our research showed that many young people think filming would be a good thing to provide evidence for police. We must get them to understand that the priority must be their safety.”
It was back in May, in the wake of the Manchester bombing that Scotland Yard first suggested children should be taught how to deal with a major terrorist attack, in the same way as their parents.
Senior police staff said that it is not wise to shield children from the dangers of terrorism. Instead, they should be taught about it in a way similar to how they are warned about ’stranger danger.
Speaking at the World Counter Terror Congress earlier this year, D’Orsi explained that any terrorist attack on a crowded building or busy public space is likely to affect children too.
“When I was at school, everybody used to talk about ‘stranger danger’, that was the sort of buzz phrase and it’s still a thing I remember today,” said D’Orsi.
“For me that messaging needs to be to children as well as to the broader public. If we take a lot of our crowded places, and some of the places that you will work in. We know that at keys times they are a hub that attracts a lot of young people to go to those places.”
D’Orsi encouraged parents and teachers to spread the messaging of ‘Run, Hide, Tell’, a campaign that instructs a person to run to a place of safety, rather than surrender or negotiate.
If there’s nowhere to go, then hide, as it’s better to hide than to confront. Then when it is safe to do so tell the police, making sure your phone is on silent, not vibrate.
For many parents, talking to their children about world events, especially violent ones close to home, is a difficult area of conversation, as they are wary of scaring your children.
But John Cameron, Head of NSPCC Helplines, explained to HuffPost UK: “Children today are more exposed to world events than ever and despite the urge to protect our children from what’s happening, [not talking to them] can mean their worries build up.”
Amanda Gummer, child psychologist and founder of Fundamentally Children added: “Honesty is always the best policy, but it’s important to acknowledge what is your own opinion and that there are other people who have different opinions.”