This afternoon Deputy National Co-ordinator Protect and Prepare, Adam Thomson, spoke to Industry Sector Leads on  a CSSC Bridge Call to update them on the incident that took place Christchurch, New Zealand, on 15th March 2019.

Police were called at approximately 1340hrs 15 March, Christchurch, New Zealand, to reports of shots being fired at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand. The incident was announced as a terrorist attack by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

A gunman, maybe more, attacked the two mosques, the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Mosque. The attacker streamed a live video of the attack that was taken down in New Zealand but is still showing on worldwide media.

Between the two mosques, a total of 49 people were killed and 20 were seriously injured.

Two improvised explosive devices were subsequently found in vehicles and have been deactivated by police.

Following the incident the police arrested an Australian national who was subsequently charged with murder and who will appear in court tomorrow. Reports indicate that three more individuals have been arrested in relation to  the incident.

Local authorities have evacuated residents and cordoned off the area.

A joint Australian and NZ investigation has been launched to identify further suspects.

The arrested suspect had indicated his intentions and the location of the attacks in a message posted on social media and in an e-mail sent to national and international media organisations. This message was sent 12 minutes prior to the attack.

This is particularly poignant as there was a 12 minute window in which the information about the attack was in the public space, providing a crucial opportunity for it to be reported to the necessary authorities. This emphasises the need of everyone to remain vigilant to any such threat messages and to respond immediately by reporting them to 999 or by calling the confidential police helpline on 0800 789 321.

Our Response

 Deputy National Co-ordinator Protect and Prepare Adam Thomson said:

“As Counter Terrorism Policing, we have liaised with authorities in New Zealand to offer support through International Operations. Impacts of the incident in the UK, specifically community tensions, are being closely monitored. I want to reassure everyone that additional resources have been deployed at mosques across the UK to undertake patrols and to provide reassurance during Friday prayers and that we have provided additional protective security where required.

We need to build cohesive communities and ensure that our relationship with communities of all faiths remains strong so that we can help raise their awareness of how they can protect themselves and prepare themselves  should such incidents occur.”

Call to Action

Whilst police will do everything possible to prevent attacks and keep the public safe, we need to work together to create an increasingly hostile environment for those who wish to do us harm and ensure that communities remain vigilant and aware of how to protect themselves if the need arises.

We therefore urge you to take action by:

  • Ensuring all your staff have watched the Stay Safe video found here so that they know what to do in the event of
  • Register for, and encourage staff to undertake, the free ACT e-learning awareness course. It is an innovative online 45-minute training scheme that could help prevent terror attacks and it covers how to spot the signs of suspicious behaviour and what to do if an attack should take place. Today we hit the 1 million completed modules mark indicating the value and credibility of this ground breaking resource. To sign up, visit here.
  • Read the Crowded Places Guidance produced by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office to ensure that you have appropriate measures in place to mitigate the threat and help make the UK less vulnerable to an attack. Visit here for more
  • Familiarise yourself with the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) advice on a Marauding Terrorist Attacks, which provides detailed guidance on the simple measures that can be taken to minimise the impact of an attack and help save lives and can be found

As ever, we continue to urge the public with any information on this incident, or anything that they think is suspicious, to call the confidential police helpline on 0800 789 321.