Detecting and Responding to Hostile Reconnaissance

The Festival Season is underway – but are we vulnerable?

With the start of the Festival period and the re-emergence of events in publicly accessible locations following the pandemic, the dangers of a terror attack as members of the public flock to outdoor locations and venues, naturally, has given the police and security services renewed cause for concern.

A plot can be elaborate as we have seen in recent years, often taking a series of months to plan, requiring the perpetrator to buy component parts, often in the form of unusual purchases or out of the ordinary deliveries. Other plots are less sophisticated, a Self-Initiated Threat, carried out by a radicalised or inspired individual using crude methods such as bladed or blunt weapons. In either case, part of the planning process is in carrying out some form of “hostile reconnaissance” on their intended targets, visiting and observing.

Within this “attack planning cycle”, and in particular at the hostile reconnaissance phase, there may be opportunities to identify suspicious behaviours and potentially deter a would-be attacker.

Hostile reconnaissance forms a major part of the terrorist attack cycle prior to both final target selection and the attack on the intended target itself. It is whilst conducting hostile reconnaissance that individuals with illicit intent are susceptible to detection due to their suspicious behaviour and/or actions. An intervention at this stage could mitigate or prevent an attack.

We have all had that “gut feeling” where we think that something does not feel right, but do we know what to do when we get that feeling? At CAMOR, with our experience and expertise in the area of Counter Terrorism and Behavioural Detection, we recognise that tactics in raising awareness of Hostile Reconnaissance should not be exclusive to Law Enforcement.

Our ‘Detecting and Responding to Hostile Reconnaissance’ and ‘Behavioural Detection’ courses are designed to channel and develop an individual's natural “gut instincts” and develop skills, knowledge, and understanding of what could be the hostile reconnaissance phase of a potential attack, along with the methods which can be employed as the means to 'Detect, Disrupt and Deter' individuals engaged in preparation for acts of terrorism and other criminal or illicit activities.

Counter terrorism investigations across the UK remain at record levels, and the current UK threat level sits at substantial, meaning an attack is likely. By giving people the skills they need to be those additional eyes and ears, there will be greater vigilance in crowded places. Trust and act on your feelings and if you see something out of the ordinary, report it immediately and make a difference, as it could save lives.

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