Terrorism is a dreaded word today, and experience has shown, that those who commit such acts usually select crowded places in order to unleash terror. Therefore, keeping Christmas in mind, London police suggested that busy stores consider the introduction of suitable preventive measures and develop emergency contingency plans. The objective would be to contain widespread panic among, not only shoppers but also the staff, in case of any terror attack.

The Telegraph reported that counter-terror police plan to issue a 60-second security checklist that will help reduce reaction time for safe and smooth evacuation of people from inside the stores.

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There will also be a clear understanding, among all concerned, about how to proceed and whether it will be an evacuation or lockdown. The stores must identify an individual who will be responsible for implementation of the emergency plans.

Precautions that can prevent chaos

The suddenness of an incident, like a terror attack, leads to chaos and panic. That gives rise to unpleasant scenes with people trampling over others in a bid to escape. These have happened in the past. When a fight broke out in the London Underground, at the height of the Black Friday rush hour, there was a stampede, and many people suffered injuries, as they jumped from escalators to escape.

Such incidents can be contained if there is a plan in place for the staff. They must be aware of the entry and exit points and location of probable hiding places in the stores or shops.

London police have reminded Christmas shoppers to be vigilant because the terror threat remains at a severe level. Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth said that during the festive season there would be a revamping of the security cover in crowded places.

The threat is very much real

According to Sky News, the terror threat during festivities is real. Police and the MI5 are aware of the problem and want to draw up plans to ensure that those engaged in Christmas shopping are safe. I also want to share that there are 10 reasons to avoid Black Friday sales and still save money [VIDEO].

Senior counter-terrorism bosses look at this as a joint venture between the public and retail staff. London police admit that there is no specific intelligence on the subject but it is important for all concerned to take necessary precautions. It might even bring back bad memories of the tower fire where 58 people died.

Aldworth brought up a very relevant point. He says that if something happens, getting away is the first priority. However, there are people who “stop to take photographs, videos and upload it onto social media videos and such like [sic].” His advice to them is to move out from the danger area and inform the police.