Counter Terrorism Police have enlisted the support of Flintshire double Olympic gold medal taekwondo athlete Jade Jones to launch their first-ever safety campaign aimed at children and teenagers.
The campaign will teach 11-16 year olds how to react in the unlikely event they are caught in a gun or knife terror attack, including being told NOT to stop and use their phones until they are safely away from danger.
Jade joins TV stars Ant Middleton and Bear Grylls, England footballer Jamie Vardy and Rugby International James Haskell in the first phase of the new initiative.
With the UK terror threat level at SEVERE, children will be taught to RUN if they are able to, HIDE if they are not, and TELL police of the threat only when it is safe to do so.
They will also be advised to warn others about an on-going threat, and crucially told NOT to stop and use their phones until they are safely away from danger.
Previous messaging – which has formed part of the wider Action Counters Terrorism campaign – has been aimed at adults, but following extensive research with children and young people, security experts from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) have created advice to engage and empower a younger audience.
National Lead for Protective Security, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi said;
“We appreciate that talking to young people about terrorism can be scary, for parents and children alike, but the atrocities in London and Manchester have sadly resulted in some of the youngest victims of terror this country has ever seen, and if we are able to teach children to act in a way which could potentially save their lives then it is our responsibility to do so.
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.”
Head of NSPCC Helplines John Cameron says they have received more than 300 contacts from young people anxious about terrorism.
“We know it’s a child welfare issue that is impacting on their emotional wellbeing,” said John.
“Adults can help a child by listening to their worries, reassuring them these events are rare, and teaching them to Run, Hide, and Tell.
Although these conversations might be difficult, the spate of devastating events means that they cannot be brushed under the carpet and we all have a duty to help every child stay safe.”