Pool Re releases terror threat report for retail and hospitability

Published on Wed, 11/08/2021 - 11:07

The government-backed Pool Re has highlighted retail and hospitality venues and businesses as likely targets or terrorist attack as lockdown measures ease and crowds return to the sector.

Pool Re published its Sector Risk Report for hospitality and retain in July, which featured key findings including that the threat of terrorism is not exclusive to cities and major towns, the easing of lockdown measures could provide greater opportunities for terrorists to operate, potentially leading to a surge in attacks, and that terrorist will continue to use low complexity methodologies in their attacks against the sector.

“Retail and hospitality locations are especially at risk given their visibility and public significance,” Ed Butler, Chief Resilience Officer at Pool Re, said.

“Innovations to accommodate social distancing like external queuing, outdoor dining spaces and the pedestrianisation of roads have created new vulnerabilities. At the same time, many businesses have lost experienced staff and have redirected scarce resources away from counterterrorism and protective security investment. Critically, terrorism is currently very low on businesses’ agendas.” 

The British government is considering the introduction of new ‘Protect Duty’ legislation which would impose greater responsibilities on business owners and operators in the retail and hospitality sector. It will require them to do more to understand and mitigate the threat of terrorism to their businesses, particularly for those which operate in publicly accessible spaces.

The report also assesses various attack methodologies, the likelihood of their occurrence and their potential impact on businesses. It notes ways that retail and hospitality businesses can manage and mitigate terrorism risk, including increasing understanding, seeking advice, strong preparation, training, security assessments and reinforcing business continuity plans and appropriate insurance cover.

Relevant case studies, such as the 1999 London nail bombings in Brixton, Brick Lane and the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the 2013 Westgate Mall attack, the 2016 Berlin Christmas market attack and the 2017 London Bridge / Borough Market attack as well as the 2017 Oxford Street “false alarm” on Black Friday, are highlighted in the report with their impact and significance for the retail and hospitality sectors examined.

“Pool Re SOLUTIONS is dedicated to helping organisations and businesses reduce vulnerability, risk and susceptibility,” Butler added. “Our priority is to improve the understanding of and resilience to terrorism. Our expert analysts have prepared this report using open-source analysis paired with our in-house data and a range of confidential interviews with leading experts and security directors in the retail and hospitality secto.”

Read the full Sector Risk Report here.