Major incidents - make sure you know what to do

Major incidents are thankfully rare, but the Boxing Day drama on Oxford Street in London showed that even a relatively minor occurrence can can trigger a reaction which will test the plans and training of your staff and business. 

As a result, the NBCC would recommend that you review your level of preparedness and make sure everyone in your team knows what to do in a major incident. We have gathered some of the most relevant pieces of information from difference agencies below.


NaCTSO Crowded Places Guidance

Includes bespoke sector specific guidance. More than one guidance document may apply to your business.

Some key summary points

1.2 Responsibility for deciding emergency response.
The initial decision-making regarding emergency response is usually made by the management of the crowded place. Initial decision-making should not be delayed in order to wait for instruction or action from the police. Speed of decision-making and implementation are critical.
Police will assess the threat or attack at the earliest opportunity and provide support, advice and guidance when they are able to do so. In exceptional cases the police may insist on evacuation, although they should always do so in consultation with the Security Manager or responsible individual.
Actions should be reasonable, necessary and proportionate based upon the circumstances, particularly when they are necessary to protect life and limb. You should always record and justify your actions.

1.4 Managing in crisis and requirement for training and rehearsal.
A key challenge is being able to respond effectively in a confusing and potentially life-threatening situation. Following a threat, or during an attack, it is unlikely that anyone will understand its full extent or be able to predict how it will unfold. The normal staff structure may not be in place. Familiarising staff with responses to different threat and attack scenarios and their associated indicators (such as gun shots, communication from patrolling guard force, observations from CCTV etc.) can increase the likelihood that they will be able to respond correctly and quickly.
As some scenarios develop staff will make their own decisions e.g. Run, Hide, Tell. Training and rehearsal is crucial. It will aid managers and their teams to identify how to respond most effectively and facilitate speed of decision-making and implementation, which is critical to promoting survivability
In these scenarios. Leadership is a key attribute, training and rehearsal will enable individuals to make dynamic risk assessments and respond effectively.

Stay Safe Film – ‘Run Hide Tell’

Video and text advice for the public, also applies to members of staff.


The Cross-sector Safety and Security Communications

The CSSC delivers timely and accurate information to business across the public and private sector. To see their messages and to sign up for alerts, visit

Visit our guidance page for further resources including the newly published Guidance for general managers: Major Incidents