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New report highlights terrorist threat to retail and hospitality

As UK restrictions ease and the number of crowded venues proportionally increases, Pool Re issues a new report examining the evolving terrorist threat to the retail and hospitality sector.

The second in a series of Sector Risk Reports which identifies a number of potential terrorist threats to the retail and hospitality sector, the paper is aimed at supporting businesses such as small shops, multi-branch retail businesses, hotels, restaurants and bars, and other leisure and entertainment venues.

Created to support the retail and hospitality sector’s understanding of the threat of terrorism to their businesses, the report assesses various attack methodologies, the likelihood of their occurrence and their potential impact on businesses. It also notes ways that retail and hospitality businesses can manage and mitigate terrorism risk, including increasing understanding, seeking advice, strong preparation, training, security assessments and reinforcing business continuity plans and appropriate insurance cover.

Pool Re suggest that the threat to terrorism is not exclusive to cities and major towns and more attention therefore needs to be given to potentially less secure sites on suburban and rural areas. This is especially true as the government eases lockdown restrictions and retail and hospitality spaces will becomes some of the most crowded places in the country.

If an attack on retail and hospitality is successful, Pool Re says that it is highly likely to cause disruption to local economies and damage public confidence, outcomes that could be particularly acute given businesses are beginning to recover from the pandemic.

Ed Butler, Chief Resilience Officer, said: “With restrictions in the UK further easing this week and the re-emergence of crowds, retail and hospitality locations are especially at risk given their visibility and public significance. Innovations to accommodate social distancing like external queuing, outdoor dining spaces and the pedestrianisation of roads have created new vulnerabilities. At the same time, many businesses have lost experienced staff and have redirected scarce resources away from counterterrorism and protective security investment. Critically, terrorism is currently very low on businesses’ agendas.  

“Pool Re SOLUTIONS is dedicated to helping organisations and businesses reduce vulnerability, risk and susceptibility. Our priority is to improve the understanding of and resilience to terrorism. Our expert analysts have prepared this report using open-source analysis paired with our in-house data and a range of confidential interviews with leading experts and security directors in the retail and hospitality sector.”

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